The Market Advisory Council (MAC) provided recommendations to the European Commission and the EU Member States concerning a recent legislative proposal for a regulation prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market. The new instrument would prohibit the placing on the market and the exporting of products made wholly or partially with the intervention of forced labour.
According to a study commissioned by the MAC, there are specific major risks in the fishing sector regarding forced labour, namely hazardous working conditions at sea, isolation and lack of oversight, illegal recruitment practices, and complex supply chains. Several major species commercialised in the Union market may be affected by these problems.
According to MAC members, the European Commission and EU Member States should:
– Engage with international and social partners, particularly advocating for the ratification of the International Labour Organization’s Work in Fishing Convention (No 188) and strengthening bilateral and multilateral engagement.
– Ensure the availability of reliable and up-to-date information on forced labour – in this respect, the European Union should play a key role in constructing and maintaining comprehensive databases on social and environmental issues.
– Ensure a transparent approach, notably by openly communicating the methodologies developed and the outcomes of the investigations into forced labour practices, for example via the establishment of a transparent list of companies and, where relevant, of fishing vessels, found to have violated the regulation’s provisions and the creation of a mechanism to demonstrate compliance.
– Improve the links with the proposed Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, for example by ensuring that results of investigations are available to companies to feed their due diligence processes.
Yobana Bermúdez, Chair of the MAC, highlighted: “Even though the proposed regulation is meant to apply equally to products made in the EU and in third countries, not targeting specific products, industries or countries, it can play a key role in fighting forced labour in the market of fishery and aquaculture products, as international trade is extremely important in this highly globalised sector with complex supply chains”.
Full advice: https://marketac.eu/forced-labour/
Information note about the MAC:
As foreseen by Article 43 of the Common Fisheries Policy Regulation, the Market Advisory Council (MAC) provides advice to the European Commission and EU Member States on the market of fishery and aquaculture products. The MAC is composed of organisations representing the entire value chain (primary producers, processors, traders, suppliers, retailers, trade unions) and other interest groups (environmental and development NGOs). The MAC is co-funded by the EU.