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BEERG Newsletter 34 - Forced Labour: MEPs reverse burden of proof

Members of the European Parliament’s internal market and international trade committee voted in favour of reversing the burden of proof for the import of products allegedly made with forced labour.

In a vote held on Monday (16 October) in Strasbourg, MEPs adopted language indicating that when a product originates in an area where forced labour is systematic and widespread, “competent authorities should presume that they were manufactured or provided using forced labour”.

“In such cases, it should be the responsibility of the economic operator to demonstrate that its product or service was manufactured or provided without using forced labour, and that…any use of forced labour was remediated,” says the report that the committee accepted.

However, the report will have to go to the full parliament to be ratified and the major part in the Parliament, the centre right EPP, is opposed to the burden of proof reversal. 

Even if the Parliament adopts the report, then tough negotiations lie ahead between the Parliament, the Council, and the Commission. 

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Authors: Tom Hayes

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