On 14 September 2022 the European Commission presented a proposal aiming to prohibit products from the markets of the European Union produced with forced labour, regardless of their origin. The proposal adopts a comprehensive approach by prohibiting all forced labour products without specific companies or industries targeted at any stage of the supply chain.
The appointed national authorities of the Member States will be responsible for implementing and enforcing the proposed measures. If, as a result of an investigation carried out by the authority, the product is found to be made with forced labour at any stage of its production or distribution, the authority will prohibit making the forced labour product available on the EU market and to export it; order the withdrawal of the forced labour product from the EU; and also order economic operators to dispose of the forced labour product. Member States will be required to lay down effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties applicable in case of non-compliance with the decisions of the authorities. On the other hand, companies that place products in the EU market or export them to third countries will have to prove that they have eliminated forced labour from their supply chain. With this requirement, the Commission want to achieve a dialogue with the producers to improve the situation effectively.
The proposal will follow the ordinary legislative procedure which involves the European Parliament and the Council, which procedure is likely to take between 18 and 24 months.