A. The Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act.
Now that this bill has passed we can see what is in it as well. And, one of its provisions is a bit a bit puzzling, given the stated purpose of the bill.
Under the new law, public companies using any of the four minerals from [parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo or neighboring countries] must report what steps they have taken to verify the minerals weren’t taxed or controlled by rebel groups.
Tin, tantalum and gold are used in many electronic devices including computers and televisions, and tungsten is used in ball point pens and drill bits.
Aside from the fact that the part of Africa where these minerals are mined changes hands from rebels to legitimate government almost on an hourly basis, there is an even bigger problem with compliance. Many of our electronic devices are manufactured in China. Can HP or Motorola, for example, ask China to verify the source of the minerals in their products made in China? And, if they can, does anyone expect that China will actually track this data?
There are two other points to know. Companies must report their compliance efforts beginning in 2012, but, their report must contain what efforts they made in their 2011 fiscal year. And, companies must report this information to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Huh, the SEC?
Although is is certainly laudable that our government is trying to stop the violence in this part of the world, what this provision is doing in the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act, will, no doubt, forever remain a mystery.