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The EU appears set to adopt new rules banning the import of goods created with forced labor into the Union. The European Council and Parliament announced a provisional agreement on the new legislation, which typically means that major negotiations are complete and that the law should be officially passed in the near future. Parliament’s press release describing the new law explains that:

“National authorities or, if third countries are involved, the EU Commission, will investigate suspected use of forced labour in companies’ supply chains. If the investigation concludes that forced labour has been used, the authorities can demand that relevant goods be withdrawn from the EU market and online marketplaces, and confiscated at the borders. The goods would then have to be donated, recycled or destroyed. Goods of strategic or critical importance for the Union may be withheld until the company eliminates forced labour from its supply chains.”

Companies whose goods are banned pursuant to the rule may be allowed to return their products to the market if forced labor is eliminated from their supply chains. Additionally, Parliament notes that goods coming from designated “high-risk” areas will be subject to additional scrutiny. This adds the EU to the growing list of international governments that have adopted forced labor bans in one form or another, including the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK. A final vote on the law is currently scheduled for April, prior to the EU’s summer elections.

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The Editor

Zachary Barlow is a licensed attorney. He earned his JD from the University of Mississippi and has a bachelor’s in Public Policy Leadership. He practiced law at a mid-size firm and handled a wide variety of cases. During this time he assisted in overseeing compliance of a public entity and litigated contract disputes, gaining experience both in and outside of the courtroom. Zachary currently assists the editorial team by providing research and creating content on a spectrum of ESG… View Profile