EU Trade Commissioner Offers Insights into EU Directive on Conflict Minerals

Comments from EU Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht published September 3 provide a glimpse into possible EU directive requirements for conflict minerals regulation, currently under review by the EU.

These comments outline six main points:

  1. That “trade is just one factor among many” and the EU initiative should be framed in a “wider context of a comprehensive approach to break the link between conflict and raw materials.”
  2. It will “build on existing obligations and approaches, rather than coming into conflict with them.”  This refers to OECD’s Due Diligence Framework and Dodd-Frank Section 1502.
  3. “… Avoid creating incentives for companies to stop sourcing minerals from conflict regions altogether” and will actually “provide incentives for companies – to work with primary producers in conflict regions”.
  4. It will be broader in geographic scope than simply the DRC and adjoining countries.  While no countries were named specifically, recent events suggest that Latin America and Indonesia are likely to be high on the list.
  5. It will provide “smelters – the narrowest point in the supply chain – with incentives to carry out due diligence on their upstream suppliers.”
  6. Another major goal is to “avoid any risk to security of supply for the European Union”.

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