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Back in March, we wrote about the EU reaching a political agreement on legislation that would ban the import in the EU of goods created with forced labor into the Union. That legislation has now been officially adopted by Parliament and will become law in three years after the EU Council grants final approval. European Parliament summarizes the law in a press release stating:

“Member state authorities and the European Commission will be able to investigate suspicious goods, supply chains, and manufacturers. If a product is deemed to have been made using forced labour, it will no longer be possible to sell it on the EU market (including online) and shipments will be intercepted at the EU’s borders.”

The press release goes on to say that investigations will be based on verifiable tips provided by NGOs, cooperating authorities, and whistleblowers. If an investigation finds that products were made with forced labor, those products must be withdrawn and then donated, recycled, or destroyed. Companies may reintroduce their products to the EU once forced labor has been eliminated from their supply chains. This action adds to the international patchwork of forced labor laws, including the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in the US, and Bill 211 in Canada. Laws like these make clear the importance of supply chain traceability. Forced labor is notoriously difficult to find and eliminate in supply chains, so companies may have to put considerable effort towards compliance.

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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