The European Parliament today adopted by an overwhelming majority the proposal to stop trade in conflict minerals.
"I'm very glad we now have an ambitious, workable solution to eliminate conflict minerals from supply chains," said Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström after the vote. "Trade needs to take account of our values and the Parliament's decision today is a great example of how this can be achieved.
The new rules will ensure that minerals used by European industries are sourced responsibly, in a way that does not harm populations in mining regions and does not fuel war. The new Regulation will reduce the hardship and human rights abuses that have for too long accompanied this trade.
Transparent and responsible supply chains mean revenues will not go into the hands of rebel groups, but to investment in schools and hospitals, supporting a well-governed state underpinned by the rule of law. It means improving people's lives, from conflict and terror to opportunity and hope. It means encouraging the economic growth that helps the poorest regions grow sustainably."
The Regulation brokered by the Commission and voted today by the European Parliament will impose due diligence rules on companies importing tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. Such metals and minerals are used in the production of everyday products such as mobile phones, car and jewelry. The rules will cover up to 95% of imports as of 1 January 2021. In the meantime, the Commission and Member States will work to make sure that the necessary structures are in place to ensure EU-wide implementation.
Together with the new rules, the EU will be putting in place accompanying measures to support small and medium-sized importers, and development aid to ensure the Regulation is effective and has a positive impact on the ground. The EU has also been reaching out to governments in Africa, Asia and beyond to encourage them to source responsibly and eliminate alternative markets for conflict minerals.
To become effective, the Regulation still has to be formally adopted by the Council.