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DOL Seeks Input for Reports on Goods Made with Child and Forced Labour

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs is requesting comments and information no later than 4 January 2016 on certain documents regarding child labour and forced labour in foreign countries. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 requires ILAB to submit to Congress no later than 1 December 2014 and every two years thereafter a list of foreign-made goods that it has reason to believe are produced by child and/or forced labour in violation of international standards. ILAB is also required to take steps to ensure that the goods on this list are not imported into the United States if they are made with forced or child labour, including working with producers to help set standards to eliminate the use of such labour.

Executive Order 13126 prohibits federal agencies from acquiring goods produced by forced or indentured child labour, and the DOL maintains a list of products that it has a reasonable basis to believe might have been mined, produced or manufactured with forced or indentured child labour. Federal contractors who supply the products on this list must certify that they have made a good faith effort to determine whether forced or indentured child labour was used to mine, produce or manufacture them and that, on the basis of those efforts, they are unaware of any such use of child labour.

Under the Trade and Development Act of 2000, one of the criteria for eligibility for trade benefits under the Generalised System of Preferences, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act and the African Growth and Opportunity Act is the beneficiary country’s implementation of its international commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labour.

ILAB is now requesting comments and information to maintain and update the TVPRA and EO lists, update the findings and suggestions for government action for countries reviewed in the TDA report, and assess each country's advancement toward eliminating the worst forms of child labour. ILAB will generally consider sources with dates up to five years old (i.e., data not older than 1 January 2011).

The most recent TVPRA list includes a range of products made in mainland China, namely artificial flowers (forced labour), bricks (child and forced labour), Christmas decorations (forced labour), coal (forced labour), cotton (child and forced labour), electronics (child and forced labour), fireworks (child and forced labour), footwear (forced labour), garments (forced labour), nails (forced labour), textiles (child labour) and toys (child and forced labour). The list also includes key products from several large U.S. suppliers, including garments from Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam; cotton from Azerbaijan, Brazil, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; footwear from Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Indonesia (only sandals); textiles from Bangladesh and Cambodia; and leather goods and accessories from India. The list does not include any products made in Hong Kong.

The list issued under the authority of EO 13126 currently includes four products from mainland China: bricks, cotton, electronics and toys.

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