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555 votes in favor, 6 votes against, European Parliament passes law banning forced labor

published: 2024-04-25 18:02

On Tuesday evening, the European Parliament voted to pass a law banning forced labor. The law prohibits the sale, import, and export of goods manufactured using forced labor in the European Union. The law covers all products but does not target specific companies or industries.

The law was passed with a majority of 555 votes in favor, 6 against, and 45 abstentions in the European Parliament. It is understood that the proposal for this law has been under consideration since 2022, and it took nearly two years to be formally voted on.

Next, the law will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union this Wednesday. Member states of the European Union will have three years to implement these laws.

According to a statement released by the European Parliament, member states and the European Commission will be able to investigate suspicious goods, supply chains, and manufacturers. If an investigation determines that forced labor was used in the production process, the goods cannot be sold in the EU market (including online), and the goods will be intercepted at the EU border. According to details reported by foreign media, the investigation period at the border for goods is within 30 working days.

As the law does not target specific industries and companies, it covers a wider scope compared to a similar law enacted in the United States in 2021. Based on recent voices in the European media, it has been repeatedly pointed out that China's overcapacity in photovoltaics, lithium batteries, and electric vehicle production, which may become the focus of this law. Similar laws enacted in Europe and the United States are aimed at disengaging from the Chinese industrial chain and promoting domestic manufacturing under the guise of "forced labor."

However, the implementation of this law in the European Union still requires approval from the EU member states (usually through their respective approval procedures without any changes). EU member states will need to begin implementing this law within three years.

Currently, EU member states vary in their reliance on imported green energy products, and under the pressure of decarbonization in each country, the specific approval and implementation are likely to differ. Some countries have a high dependence on imported solar pv and lithium batteries, while their domestic new energy manufacturing industry is not well developed, so the implementation of this law may still take some time.


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