New conflict minerals regulation to ensure household items do not support war
ECR Group negotiators managed on Tuesday to finally secure a well-balanced approach towards preventing trade of certain minerals that might fund conflict in high risk zones around the world.
While the EU is working on a system that would encourage importers not to use minerals that are likely to finance conflicts, the Left originally pushed through a mechanism that would have a de facto embargo effect on conflict regions leading to the possible closing down of mines denying innocent miners and their families of their livelihoods, while not having any significant effect at reducing conflict.
Instead, following months of painstaking negotiations, a new system has been agreed between the European Parliament, the European Member States and the European Commission. It will cover all imports of four elements, tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, which are used mainly for consumer electronic products, cars and in jewellery.
The law will require that all smelters and refiners using these minerals will have to perform due diligence, with a view to ensuring that the imports have not been used to finance conflicts. Furthermore, importers of metals will be covered and over 95% of total import volumes subject to the new rules. Finally, the system will ensure that micro companies that are importing tiny amounts of the covered minerals and metals are not burdened unnecessarily.
Emma McClarkin MEP, ECR spokesman on international trade, said: “Today we reached a balanced final agreement on a new system that will help prevent the proceeds of trade being used to fund conflicts around the world.
“While making big strides in towards preventing conflict, the final agreement will also allow sufficient time for firms to adopt to the new requirements and will create list of responsible metal importers in the EU that are considered as “conflict-free.”
“Not only this, but the Regulation will also ensure that companies operating on the ground in high risk areas will not abandon their operations, meaning that the livelihoods of miners in these areas will be finally secure.”