Parliamentary question - O-0083/2010Parliamentary question

Import of Laogai-made goods into the European Union


Question for oral answer O-0083/2010
to the Commission
Rule 115
Michael Gahler, Elmar Brok, Daniel Caspary, Cristiana Muscardini
on behalf of the PPE Group

Laogai is the system of forced-labour prisons in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Laogai system was condemned by the EP and is a regular subject of the EU-PRC Human Rights Dialogue. Most Laogai prisons are economic entities with commercial company names. These names hide the true nature of these products, which are thus sold freely in and outside the PRC. Proof of this practice is found in many business catalogues, foremost in Dun & Bradstreet which lists 330 known Laogai prisons. Laogai camps also advertise on the internet. Approximately 500 advertising camps have been identified. Though rarely proven, the Laogai is most probably also the source of many Chinese-made counterfeit products.

Applying their law which prohibits the importation of convict-made goods, the United States (US) has banned the products of several such companies from the US market. The EU has no such law (yet).

Considering that EU consumers and companies must be protected against inadvertently purchasing Laogai-made goods, and having regard to the respective EP resolutions condemning the Laogai system and to the EU-PRC Human Rights Dialogues;

1. What actions will the Commission take in order to prevent the direct or indirect import of Laogai and/or other convict-made goods into the EU?

2. When will the Commission start to cooperate as closely as possible with US authorities, especially US customs, on detecting these goods?

3. What actions will the Commission take in order to prevent unfair competition resulting from the violation of ILO core principles in camps that force inmates to produce products for the public?

4. Does the Commission intend to raise this sensitive issue during negotiations with the PRC in order to obtain a mutually binding agreement that the PRC will prevent the direct or indirect export of Laogai-made goods to the EU and/or their sale to EU-owned companies in the PRC?

Tabled: 7.6.2010

Forwarded: 9.6.2010

Deadline for reply: 16.6.2010