Brussels will ban products made using forced labor, a move that could further strain the country’s trade relations. with China against allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang province.
Footwear, clothing and items like wood, fish and cocoa are the products most likely to be affected, according to people with knowledge of the plan.
In June, the United States issued a comprehensive ban on all imports from Xinjiang Province of China, where there have been allegations of widespread human rights abuses – including torture, arbitrary detention and forced labor – against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities.
Instead, the EU ban will focus on all products made with forced labor – including those produced within the bloc – to avoid violating World Trade Organization rules. gender on non-discrimination.
The European/Green Liberal Union in the European Parliament supported the US-style ban. “We are not like-minded friends with the totalitarian regime in China,” said Henrike Hahn, a German Green MEP and member of the parliament’s China delegation. We ask for a ban on imports of products from Chinese forced labor and products from Chinese companies in general that are manufactured using forced labor.”
The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, is expected to announce its plans this week.
“Forced labor constitutes a grave violation of a person’s dignity and basic human rights,” the Financial Times said, adding that the EU’s “priority” was to eliminate it.
The article, which did not cite individual countries that might be targeted by the ban, added that the EU did not have time to assess the impact “officially” because of the urgency of the matter.
The ban, which is likely to become law as early as next year, will apply to products that use forced labor at any stage of production, harvesting or extraction and to all products, of any kind, including their ingredients, the paper said.
It added: “All economic operators, economic sectors, production stages or steps of the value chain must be covered.
EU will use International Labor Organization definition of forced labor. The United Nations agency estimates that 25 million people worldwide are subjected to forced labor conditions. It will release new estimates on Monday.
The 27 EU member states will be responsible for detecting and enforcing and responding to complaints from NGOs, companies and other organisations. They will have to conduct an investigation and may ask for cooperation from the country of origin of the goods.
Officials accept that it can be difficult to find evidence, especially if countries don’t cooperate. But if there is a high probability that forced labor is used, member states will be able to seize the product and ban imports. An official said the EU had eased the “burden of proof” to help enforce the ban.
According to the article, enforcement will focus on large companies, including manufacturers, manufacturers and suppliers of goods, due to concerns that small firms have less leverage to put pressure on firms. suppliers and “fewer resources to conduct in-depth due diligence” on those companies.
Regulators also want to strengthen cooperation with non-EU countries to ensure products using forced labor do not end up in the bloc, the draft said.
Earlier this month, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said the Chinese government had committed “serious human rights violations” in its treatment of the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
China denies they are abusing human rights in Xinjiangone of the world’s largest cotton producers and a major supplier of raw materials for solar panels.