Packaging and Organotin – In or Out of SEC’s Conflict Minerals Regulations?

Anyone who has been involved with SEC’s conflict minerals regulations for any amount of time is well aware of its confusing nature, overly complex and labyrinthine sentences and significant substantive ambiguities.  Among these, two matters seem to be rising to the top in popularity – due to the sweeping nature of the applicability:

  • Is packaging within the scope of the regulation as something that is “necessary to the functionality or production” of a product?  In some cases, packaging may serve little more than a product container to convey the product to the market or consumer in a convenient manner.  In other cases, packaging could be seen as preventing the degradation of the product, and therefore arguably contributing to its functionality.
  • Is organotin – as well as other non-metallic forms of 3TG – considered a different/specific “derivative” of cassiterite that is not intended to be regulated in the same manner as the specifically-named derivative “tin”?  In the preamble of the final rule (77 Fed. Reg. 56284 – 56285), SEC addressed the matter of organotin without bringing full clarity to their views on the matter.

There may – or may not – a glimmer of insight into the Commission’s potential interpretation on these two topics.  Take a few minutes and read Footnote 9 in SEC’s Respondent Brief filed in the NAM/US Chamber lawsuit.

Then we invite you to post your thoughts, interpretations and comments here to encourage more discussion and views.


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