EU proposes ban on goods made by forced labor

The European Union is proposing a ban on products made by forced labor.

An EU draft bill does not specify any countries where the practice takes place. But officials are believed to have China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in mind.

The legislation was unveiled on Wednesday. It would prohibit the sale, import and export in the EU market of goods that involve forced labor during their production.

EU members would probe products if there are "well-founded suspicions" of such abuse. Investigators would work on information provided by civil society and international organizations.

If the suspicions are confirmed, state authorities would order the businesses responsible to withdraw the products from the market and dispose of them.

If a company or a non-EU state refuses to cooperate, the state authorities would be able to make a decision based on the available facts alone.

The member states and the European Parliament need to approve the bill for it to come into law. Enforcement would come two years later.

The EU proposal comes after the United States in June implemented a ban on imports from Xinjiang. Suspected businesses are required to prove their products were not made by forced labor.