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Ban on products made with forced labour in the EU market progressing

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 26.1.2024 14.34
News item
Kuvassa on etualalla mallinukke ja esillä on naisten vaatteita liikkeessä.

The proposal for a regulation banning products made with forced labour in the EU market has advanced to trilogues between representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. The Regulation is part of a legislative package on responsible business operations.

The aim of the Regulation is to prevent products from entering the EU market if these have been made with forced labour. The ban will also apply to exports from the EU market. The problem in question is a substantial one, as according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) around 27.6 million people are in forced labour worldwide. Forced labour exists in all sectors, but it is particularly common in some service sectors, the textile industry, mining and agriculture.

The regulation would apply to all companies irrespective of their legal form or scope of activities and to all products produced in the EU and all imports. However, the ban and the requirement to recall products would not extend to products that have reached end-users. 

An effort will be made to conclude the trialogue as early as February, before the parliamentary break due to the EU parliamentary elections begins. If a preliminary agreement is reached on the regulation in these negotiations, it must still be approved by each EU institution in accordance with its own official procedures.

Authorities to have the right to request information from companies on the prevention of forced labour

The EU Regulation would entrust national authorities and the European Commission with monitoring the compliance of companies with the regulation. If an undertaking is suspected of breaching its obligations, depending on the circumstances, either a national competent authority or the European Commission could initiate an investigation. Legislation on the competent authority in Finland will be enacted nationally at a later time.

On the basis of a preliminary and actual investigation, the Commission could impose a ban on placing products made by forced labour on the market. In addition, the company should recall the products placed on the market and dispose of them, taking into account separately regulated environmental considerations.

The authority would bear the burden of proof for infringements of the Regulation and forced labour. The decisions would include the right to appeal. It would be up to the national competent authorities to monitor the implementation of decisions.

The competent authority would use the information obtained from notifications, databases in accordance with the Regulation or from other authorities in its monitoring. On the basis of this information, the authority could first ask the company to provide information on how the company has tried to prevent and stop forced labour related to the product under assessment. If the authority assessed that the information provided by a company is not sufficient and the products involve a risk of forced labour, the authority could initiate a more detailed investigation to look into the possibility of forced labour.

Competent authorities should follow a risk-based approach at all stages of monitoring. Accordingly, the measures would be centred on the lowest tier in the economic value chain, i.e. where the risk of forced labour is greatest. The extent of forced labour and production volumes of products would also be taken into account when targeting investigations.


Laura Pätsi, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 (0)40 190 047276, [email protected] 
Nadine Hellberg-Lindqvist, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 (0)40 190 047,023, [email protected]