Daily Management Review

'Conflict Minerals' Rule Planed to be Targeted by White House Through Executive Order: Reuters


02/08/2017




'Conflict Minerals' Rule Planed to be Targeted by White House Through Executive Order: Reuters
If media sources are to be believed, a controversial Dodd-Frank rule that requires companies to disclose whether their products contain "conflict minerals" from a war-torn part of Africa is to be targeted by U.S. President Donald Trump through the issuing of an executive order.
 
If it is in the national security interest of the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission to temporarily suspend or revise the rule for two years according to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law which gives the president explicit authority to order the SEC.
 
Last week, the White House issued another executive order takes aim more broadly at the Dodd-Frank rules put into place after the 2007-2009 financial crisis and the news about the plan for the latest executive order comes on the heels of that order.
  
That order necessitated Treasury Secretary to consult with other regulators, including the SEC, and to come back with a report outlining possible regulatory changes and legislation even though it did not single out any one particular rule.
 
While the Dodd-Frank rule was concerned with the financial crisis, the conflict minerals rule is one of several disclosure regulations are largely unrelated to the financial crisis itself.
 
Meanwhile, last week, Republican-controlled Congress repealed a second Dodd-Frank SEC disclosure rule that required oil, gas and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.
 
In the hopes it will help curb the funding of armed groups, companies sourcing tantalum, tin, gold or tungsten mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo are required to tell the investors so according to the conflict minerals rule which was pushed by human rights groups.
 
But saying it forces companies to furnish politically-charged information that is irrelevant to making investment decisions, business groups have staunchly opposed the measure.
 
To trace the source of the minerals through the supply chain, it costs too much money for companies, they have also complained.
 
After the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers sued the SEC over the rule, a U.S. appeals court struck down a part of the conflict minerals law in 2014.
 
By forcing them to publicly state that their products are not conflict free, part of it violated the free speech rights of companies, the court found.
 
Companies are still required to carry out due diligence and report the details of those inquiries in public reports filed with the SEC as the rest of the rule, however, remained intact.
 
Without a law passed by Congress, the SEC cannot permanently repeal the rule. But to scale back some of the requirements or stop enforcing the rule entirely, it can use its broad exemptive powers.
 
By announcing he has asked SEC staff to reconsider how companies should comply with it and whether "additional relief" is warranted acting SEC Chair Michael Piwowar took steps toward doing just that last week.
 
In his statement, Piwowar spoke about how he had traveled to Africa to study the rule's impact and raised concerns about its effect on national security and he did not explicitly ask Trump to utilize his powers under Dodd-Frank to temporality suspend the rule.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com) 






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