§ Mr. Redmond
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make it his policy to ban the import of coal from countries where there is evidence of the employment of children or the exploitation of coal miners in the coal mines providing such coal.
§ Mr. Eggar
As a general rule, there are severe practical difficulties in identifying goods allegedly produced using child labour or exploiting labour, given the complexities of international trade. Also, it is highly doubtful whether the social conditions that give rise to such practices can be improved by restricting trade.
In the specific case of coal from Colombia, which the hon. Member may have in mind, the authorities have assured the Government that no coal mined from pits which employ children is exported to the United Kingdom. The Government call on all states which have ratified international instruments covering slavery, servitude, forced labour or child labour to meet their obligations.