White House helps to remove slavery from supply chains
Does your business use slave labour? According to statistics released by surveys on the website ‘Made in a free world’, individual consumers have an average of 34 slaves working for them, as a result of owning products and services which have been manufactured or distributed using slave labour.
This week, the White House announced a range of efforts to combat human trafficking, including the launch of Slavery Footprint’s Made In A Free World initiative, the first programme designed to help companies eradicate forced labour in their supply chains.
Developed by the non-profit organisation Slavery Footprint, this new programme is designed to identify high risk areas for forced labour within their supply chains and to provide the assistance of independent auditors to address those risks. Supported by the US State Department, NGOs, Dun and Bradstreet and Ariba, the Made in a Free World platform will provide public and industry recognition for tackling the issue of forced labour head-on.
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The launch of the Made in a Free World platform was announced following Barack Obama’s speech at the Clinton Global Initiative on ending modern slavery.
Launched one year ago this week, the Slavery Footprint website has enabled over 825,000 consumers in 200 countries and territories to calculate the likely number of slaves involved in the creation of products they use on a daily basis.
The results of the completed surveys revealed that individuals have an average of 34 slaves working for them. Using the website’s online Action Center and associated FreeWorld mobile app, over 320,000 individual actions have been taken, including over 200,000 letters sent directly to companies asking them to provide products made without slave labor.
According to Justin Dillon, the founder and chief executive of Slavery Footprint, the Made in a Free World platform will give businesses the tools and support they need to meet the growing consumer demand for products created without forced labor
“The overwhelming response to Slavery Footprint proves that consumers care deeply about this issue and will support companies that do what is right not only for humankind, but for their business,” said Dillon. “We have a created a global movement that will now support and promote companies that use the Made in a Free World platform to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains."
EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs
The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years.
It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC.
The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn.
In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products.
Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers
- The dispute began in 2004
- Tariffs suspended for 5 years
- $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
- $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date
- 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended
Both sides welcome end to tariffs
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.
“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.
Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”.
The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."
This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.
Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”