Trump threatened to suspend the ‘conflict minerals’ provision of Dodd-Frank. That might actually be good for Congo. – by Nik Stoop, Marijke Verpoorten and Peter van der Windt (Washington Post – September 27, 2018)

Most Americans think of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act as a far-reaching effort to regulate the financial services industry to prevent another global recession. But there’s a somewhat obscure provision involving Congo that the Trump administration threatened to undo.

And that might have been a good thing for Congo, since — according to our research — the provision had troubling unintended consequences and was not helping to reduce conflict, as intended.

In February 2017, President Trump threatened to suspend Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which would have required his administration to replace it with ‘more effective means.’ Although the suspension did not actually take effect, his interest in suspending the law is a reminder of a contentious piece of legislation that had noble intentions but mixed effects.

Section 1502 dealt with “conflict minerals,” defined as the tin, tantalum and tungsten (known as the 3Ts) and gold that some armed groups in eastern Congo use to finance their activities. Section 1502’s backers aimed to break the link between conflict and minerals in the region. But our analysis shows that the legislation did not achieve its goal.

Section 1502 requires all companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to trace the minerals used in their supply chains and declare whether they are conflict-free. “Conflict-free” means that companies can prove that the 3Ts and gold in their products from Congo and its neighbors were not mined, sold, taxed or otherwise used for the benefit of armed groups.

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