The Forced Labour Regulation in the EU prohibits products made with forced labour from being placed on the EU market and exported from the EU. Forced labour is defined as work or service that is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily. The regulation applies to all industry sectors, all products, regardless of their origin, and all economic operators, regardless of where they are established and regardless of their size. This regulation is expected to have a significant impact on businesses because it is broad and general, and it is not limited to specific sectors or regions.
Unlike other supply chain due diligence schemes, such as the Conflict Minerals Regulation, the Timber Regulation, the FLEGT Regulation, and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for conflict diamonds, which target specific industries and products, the Forced Labour Regulation applies to all products made with forced labour, whether or not they were manufactured in the EU or imported from outside the EU. The enforcement of the Forced Labour Regulation will be carried out by competent authorities designated by the member states, and the Commission’s role will be limited to supporting member states by issuing guidelines, maintaining a public database, and assisting coordination between the competent authorities. The competent authorities will conduct investigations in two phases, and companies subject to an investigation will have 15 working days to provide the requested information to the competent authorities. After completing an investigation, the competent authorities will make a decision. If they find evidence of forced labour, they will prohibit any products made with forced labour from being placed on the EU market and exported from the EU.