News / Africa

EU May Help Mineral Exporters from Eastern Congo

FILE - Artisanal miners crush tin ore before it is washed and then bagged ready for sale in Nyabibwe, a mining town in South Kivu, DRC.FILE - Artisanal miners crush tin ore before it is washed and then bagged ready for sale in Nyabibwe, a mining town in South Kivu, DRC.
x
FILE - Artisanal miners crush tin ore before it is washed and then bagged ready for sale in Nyabibwe, a mining town in South Kivu, DRC.
FILE - Artisanal miners crush tin ore before it is washed and then bagged ready for sale in Nyabibwe, a mining town in South Kivu, DRC.
Nick Long
Companies exporting from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo could soon be offered advantages in Europe under a law being drafted by the European Commission.

The draft law seems to be intended to help break the link between the minerals trade and conflict, but without stopping trade altogether.

A delegation of members of the European parliament has been visiting Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo to see how those countries are likely to be affected by a draft European law on so-called “conflict minerals."
 
Leading the delegation is Judith Sargentini.  She says she won’t see the draft law until it is published, in the next few months, but she has some knowledge of its contents.
 
She suggests the law will require EU companies buying tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold to prove their supply chain for these minerals.
 
She says this is in response to legislation passed by the U.S. Congress, in the Dodd Frank Act.  The 2010 law mainly deals with financial regulations but also requires U.S.-listed companies buying any of the above minerals to show they have not funded conflict in Africa's Great Lakes region.
 
"We cannot just have the U.S. work on this issue, when we are the biggest traders with Africa, and ignore this.  It will influence European companies that want to trade on the U.S. market, but more importantly Europe has a responsibility to a lot of countries that are even former colonies," says Sargentini.
 
Asked if the proposed law is also a response to an increase in Chinese imports of these Congolese minerals by companies that are not concerned with the Dodd Frank Act, Sargentini said no, she wouldn’t put it that way.
 
"But I would say that European communication on trade and raw materials is completely influenced by the fear Europe has that China will buy out everything, and we won’t have anything any more," says Sargentini.
 
Avoiding an outright embargo

Critics of the Dodd Frank Act say it resulted initially in a virtual embargo on the Congo’s exports of the four minerals, and an increase in smuggling via neighboring countries.  Sargentini agrees, but suggests the European law should have a different effect.
 
"The Dodd Frank Act led to no trade, which makes people unemployed. That’s not what I’m looking for.  EU legislation doesn’t have to follow the U.S.  It has to put in place legislation that is credible and equally recognized.  It will not be a complete stop on commodities from eastern Congo - even if they were mined in bad circumstances," says Sargentini.
 
She suggests the EU trade commissioner, Belgian Karel de Gucht, who is leading the law drafting process, wants to encourage trade with the Congo.
 
"I think he will suggest some sort of advantages for companies that continue trading in commodities from eastern Congo and make an effort to do this as transparently as possible. What it could be is to make the entry point into the EU easier - make it cheaper or make it faster," says Sargentini.
 
Some Congolese experts say they think the Dodd Frank Act has had a positive effect, helping to cut warlords’ funding.
 
Fidel Bafilemba, who works for the Enough Project in eastern Congo, an organization that campaigns for responsible trading, says the Dodd Frank Act has had positive and negative effects. 
 
He added that the conflict minerals section of the law has not been officially implemented yet, but has had effects because of people’s reactions to how they think it will eventually be applied.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid