Trade committee to discuss metals and minerals
One of the most significant dossiers of recent years touching on the responsibility of European companies beyond the EU’s borders will enter the European Parliament next Thursday (6 November). The trade committee will hold its first exchange of views on proposals by the European Commission to increase scrutiny of the trade in four metals and minerals.
The proposals, which were presented by the Commission on 5 March, are intended to prevent profits from the trade in tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold from being used to finance armed groups.
The EU proposals were prompted by American legislation, part of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, that has already forced European companies to adjust their purchasing systems. The US legislation was specifically intended to curb fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo and covers the Great Lakes region of Africa.
The ‘conflict minerals’ dossier, in which the development committee is expected to take a keen interest, may go to a vote by committees in February. The major points of contention about the proposals are likely to be over the number of metals and minerals included, the geographical scope of the legislation, what types of companies should check and monitor their purchases and sales of the minerals, and whether the regime should be voluntary or mandatory. The Commission has proposed a voluntary scheme that is global in its reach.