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Imports: Cotton

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to prevent imports of (a) cotton and (b) clothing which have been produced by child labour in Uzbekistan. (203810)

[holding answer 7 May 2008]: The UK remains concerned, about allegations of the use of child labour in the cotton sector in Uzbekistan. The UK has raised its concerns through the EU and has discussed the issue with the Uzbek Government. The EU welcomed Uzbekistan's signing of the International Labour Organisation Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour earlier this year and has urged Uzbekistan to implement effectively its international obligations in this regard.

The UK Government continue to call on businesses to look at their supply chains and take appropriate action if they find evidence that goods has been produced using child labour.

There is no legal requirement for goods to bear marks indicating its origin. As such, it would be difficult for the Government to establish a blanket ban on imports of Uzbek cotton and clothing. Similarly, products manufactured using Uzbek cotton in a third country would legitimately bear the country of manufacture as the country of origin.