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Viewpoint | December 2016

EU may sign textile pact with Uzbekistan

The European Union is likely to clinch a textile protocol with Uzbekistan only if it is satisfied Uzbekistan has made progress in scaling back the use of child labour. The EU wants the practice of forced labour and child labour to be eradicated from the national to the local levels.

TEurope represents a major market for Uzbek cotton. In 2013, Uzbekistan began allowing the ILO to monitor the annual harvest. Along with a boycott by major clothing manufacturers, Uzbekistan made progress in scaling back the use of child labour and EU pressure certainly played a part.

ILO said in 2015 the use of children in the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan has become rare, sporadic and socially unacceptable. But there are charges Uzbekistan has simply shifted to a greater use of forced adult labour, continuation of a demanding production quota system, and harassment of independent monitors.

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