The European Commission has revealed a proposal that could see products made with forced labour prohibited from entering the EU market.
If approved, national authorities will be able to withdraw relevant products made for both domestic consumption and exports or imports following an investigation.
EU members will have to implement the prohibition through risk-based enforcement, first assessing forced labour risks to identify possible areas of concern.
The authorities will then start investigations on products for which there are well-founded suspicions that they have been made with forced labour. If found, companies will be ordered to withdraw the products, prohibit them from entering the market or dispose of them.
The proposal will be discussed and potentially agreed on by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union before it can be entered into force. Once approved, it will be applied 24 months after its entry.
The Commission said in a release that it will then issue guidelines within 18 months following the implementation of the regulation, covering due diligence and information on risk indicators.
Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president and commissioner for trade, said: “This proposal will make a real difference in tackling modern-day slavery, which affects millions of people around the globe.”
He added: “We have sought to minimise the administrative burden for businesses, with a tailor-made approach for SMEs. We will also further deepen our cooperation with our global partners and with international organisations.”