sharing in governance of extractive industries

Mainstream vs Niche, Dodd-Frank & the Extractive Industries

US President Donald Trump is busy, already, repealing parts of the USA's Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Doff-Frank Act), why – in the context of Governance in the Extractive Industries, GOXI’s stated raison d'être does this matter?

Firstly, a recap at what is at stake, in general terms the Dodd-Frank Act has the following, very broad, stated aims, including:

"To promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end "too big to fail", to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes."

It would appear that the extractive industries fall into the final catch-all term of “for other purposes”, that is: we are an after-thought.

This reading is entirely consistent with the prevailing online commentary around the partial repeal, which is more concerned about real estate mortgage payments in, say, Kentucky than mining transparency in Kinshasa.

Searching via Google it is true that there is information fairly prominently displayed regarding the above but in an extractives context, however: the example I quote below is written by financial market analysts whose commentary has scant to do with governance considerations. Instead, their take away is – naturally for them – about US oil firms being released from a domestic regulation that had made it harder for them to compete internationally:

“WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump accelerated his ambitious bid to roll back financial regulation Tuesday, signing into law a measure killing a Securities and Exchange Commission rule aimed at weeding out corruption in the energy industry.

The rule in question is a requirement of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, and was completed in the final months of former President Barack Obama’s administration. It requires energy companies to disclose publicly their payments to governments for the rights to extract oil, gas and minerals.”

Tuesday’s move is a significant victory for industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute, which have fought the SEC rule for years, arguing it makes it harder for U.S. to compete against oil companies from other countries that aren’t subject to the regulation.”

Whilst it is true that by going directly to extractive industry governance webpages on well-known website there is clear commentary on the partial-repeal and its GOXI-core subject areas impact, the fact remains that you have to know where to look for that and be motivated to do so.  I quote below the online statement made by Fredrik Reinfeldt, Chair of the EITI, noting that there are no doubt similar, and similarly adroit, online statements made on the webpages of the PWYP, NRGI, CCSI, TI, GW etc. etc.

“The EITI has in recent years frequently spoken about the ways in which disclosure requirements like Dodd Frank 1504 and the EITI complement each other. See for example, the EITI Statement on the SEC’s regulation on mandatory company dis.... I reiterate earlier held EITI positions on this matter. Our aim is to ensure responsible and transparent resource governance and this requires multiple efforts. The SEC took great care in drafting these rules in consultation with industry to ensure that they complement the EITI’s efforts and avoid unnecessary duplication. I would urge Congress to consider this matter thoroughly, and to ensure that any action does not undermine the hard-won gains in this arena.” 

My question: how do we make these concerns mainstream rather than niche?

Recalling better days for Dodd-Frank and its provisions:

US President Barack Obama meets with Rep. Barney Frank, (D-Mass), Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Ill), and Sen. Chris Dodd, (D-Conn), in the White House prior to a financial regulatory reform announcement June 17, 2009.  Image licensed as public domain under WikiCommons; source: Official White House Photostream.

Please may I ask you to read this challenge in a constructive sense, which is how it is meant.  I am not seeking to criticise individuals or organisations here; the maxim of glass houses and stones would thus apply if I was seeking to be critical - which I am not. After all, it is not as if I have done anything concrete as yet to even try and breakthrough this mainstream media indifference.  

Rather I am trying to spark a debate - the point of the GOXIan Forum.  

-> What do people think/ propose?

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There is also the Dodd Frank 1502 provision regarding conflict-free minerals (focussed on eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo).  Reuters cites anonymous sources saying that:

"President Donald Trump is planning to issue a directive targeting a controversial Dodd-Frank rule that requires companies to disclose whether their products contain "conflict minerals" from a war-torn part of Africa, according to sources familiar with the administration's thinking.

Reuters could not learn precisely when the directive would be issued or what the final version would say. However, a leaked draft that has been floating around Washington and was seen by Reuters on Wednesday calls for the rule to be temporarily suspended for two years. 

Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the document.The sources spoke on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the plan."

There is a BBC (UK State broadcaster) podcasts on this, see http://bbc.in/2lK8BGm (starts at 13 seconds in and the relevant section lasts until about 10 minutes gone, after which the focus turns to Valentine's Day).



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