Cécile Jacob and Pierre Hausemer (VVA Brussels), together with Klaus Friesenbichler and Birgit Meyer (WIFO), explore the question of how EU economic policy instruments can be designed to prevent trade in products produced in forced labour.
The report compares the option of an EU import ban on goods produced with forced labour with a marketing ban of such products. The research team analyses the likely economic and social impacts of the proposed measures, both inside and outside the EU. The legal feasibility of the instruments is also examined. The results show that forced labour is a complex phenomenon and neither an import ban nor a marketing ban might sufficiently eradicate forced labour at its roots.
The EU Commission's proposal covers all products, regardless of whether they are imported from third countries, produced in the EU for domestic consumption or exported. The specific implementation is challenging, as forced labour in third countries mainly occurs in the private sector, although in some cases it is mandated by the state. The authors suggest that companies, especially small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), should be supported in the implementation process. Economic policy instruments should be effective tools against the import and circulation of forced labour products on the European internal market. This will support the implementation of the European Commission's global decent work initiative.