The Foreign Trade Association (FTA) has published a statement on conflict minerals to highlight certain drawbacks associated with a draft regulation discussed by the European Parliament (EP) at a meeting on 23 February 2015.
The objective of this regulation is to set up a European system for supply chain due diligence and self-certification of importers of minerals and metals originating in conflict and high-risk areas. The trade sector has an inherent interest in promoting sustainable supply chains and FTA welcomes the overall aim, but the association has concerns about certain ambiguities in the proposal.
Concretely, the regulation might – albeit inadvertently – include manufactured goods. While the regulation does in fact only mention importers of raw materials, an accompanying communication refers to due diligence for European sellers of electronic goods and equipment, jewellery, light bulbs and batteries, amongst others.
Therefore, in its statement FTA identifies a number of important modifications to the proposal, so that the latter reinforces the concept of shared responsibility, explicitly excludes manufactured goods and removes the link between conflict minerals and public procurement.
The European Parliament's trade committee will vote on the legislative proposal on 24 April and at plenary in May 2015. In parallel, discussions in the Council of Ministers, representing the 28 EU member states, started and are likely to continue over the coming months and FTA will remain actively involved all throughout the decision-making process.