The European Union will move forward with a ban on forced labour products, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed on Wednesday, a move widely seen as being directed at China.
Speaking at her second annual state-of-the-union address in Strasbourg, von der Leyen said that to ensure products made by people threatened or coerced into labour did not “end up for sale in shops here in Europe … we will propose a ban on products in our market that have been made by forced labour”.
“Human rights are not for sale – at any price,” she said.
The EU is expected to unveil a draft of its supply chain due diligence law aimed at tackling the issue later this year, among policy measures designed to tackle issues the bloc has with China.
Beijing has been accused of implementing a widespread programme of forced labour in the western region of Xinjiang, a charge it denies. Von der Leyen’s address was peppered with references to Europe’s geopolitical concerns about China.
This week, Brussels will also announce further details of its nascent Indo-Pacific strategy. Von der Leyen said the plan was inspired by “the fact that autocratic regimes use [the region] to try to expand their influence”.
The original full article can be found at scmp.com