Ban the import of goods produced with slave labour

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.

Relevant legislation

Prohibited imports are listed in schedule 1 of the Customs and Excise Act 1996.

Potential changes
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.
Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License