Leaked Trump Executive Order Easing Conflict Mineral Regulations a ‘Gift to Warlords & Corrupt Businesses’

Leaked Trump Executive Order Easing Conflict Mineral Regulations a ‘Gift to Warlords & Corrupt Businesses’

Washington, DC — In response to reports that the President Trump is planning to issue an executive order targeting the US conflict minerals provision, also known as Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank, Carly Oboth Policy Adviser at Global Witness said: 

“Any executive action suspending the US conflict minerals rule would be a gift to predatory armed groups seeking to profit from Congo’s minerals as well as a gift to companies wanting to do business with the criminal and the corrupt. 

“This law helps stop US companies funding conflict and human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries. Suspending it will benefit secretive and corrupt business practices. Responsible business practices are starting to spread in eastern Congo.  This action could reverse that progress.

“It is an abuse of power that the Trump Administration is claiming that the law should be suspended through a national security exemption intended for emergency purposes.  Suspending this provision could actually undermine US national security.”

The conflict minerals law, known as Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act, aims to help stop mineral trading fuelling conflict in Central Africa by requiring companies to check whether they are funding conflict or human rights abuses through their purchases of minerals, including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. These minerals are crucial parts of many products manufactured and sold in the US, from jewelry and airplanes to laptops and mobile phones.

For over a decade, Global Witness has exposed the role of minerals in fuelling conflict and human rights abuses in eastern Congo and played a leading role in securing passage of the conflict minerals provision. 

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  1. This is one of a series of horrendous executive orders; I hope this is rethought before it becomes more than a leak. Maybe they are getting smarter and actually testing reactions before making things final.
    That said, I had no idea that this was part of Dodd-Frank, and I just wondered a bit whether that was actually the appropriate route for such a worthy requirement. Dodd-Frank is supposed to be about the financial sector, not about mining. Maybe there is a point that such legislation should focus on its main area and not throw in unrelated items, however worthy—kind of like we complain about stray amendments to the NDAA.

    • The way that Dodd-Frank applies is that it provides a series of regulations and consumer protections. Because there is little US regulatory code can do to influence foreign warlords, the onus falls on manufacturers and importers to practice due-diligence regarding minerals and raw materials in their supply chains.

      Under Dodd-Frank 1502 if Intel wants to make a computer chip using a mineral sourced in DRC they would have to audit their supply line and show where their materials are coming from. With this suspension of the rules that Trump is proposing they are allowed to import and operate with a double blind to their supply line. This allows the warlords to re-enter the trade undetected and without consequence for the manufacturers. Thus fueling the conflict even further.

      • I understand the danger, and it is bad indeed; NOT, not, not trying to downplay that. I was just wondering whether it should have been a stand-alone or included with other manufacturing regulations, not in what I believed to relate solely to the financial/investment sector (I worked quite a lot on Dodd-Frank in 2010, hardly at all since).