Last year, Trade Aid ran a camapign to petition Parliament to ban the importation of goods produced with slave labour. The petition attracted 17,000 signatures. The Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade committee has now reported back on the petition, but recommended no real action.
This seems to be a perfect opportunity for a member's bill which would attract widespread public support.
Add "Goods manufactured or produced wholly or in part by slave labour" to the schedule.
- Such a ban may violate our obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The select committee report notes that GATT Article XI would prohibit such a ban, but that Article XX may allow then to be banned on the grounds of "protecting public morals". It would also allow them to be banned had they been made in a prison, but not if slavery is simply a part of ordinary economic conditions in a country (!). National and Labour may therefore be reluctant to support it.