Reuters have reported that the acting chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking to scale back the SEC ‘conflict minerals’ rule. The Republican Michael Piwowar announced he has directed staff to reconsider how companies should comply with the rule and whether “additional relief” from its requirements is necessary.

This comes after President Trump signed an executive order aiming to cut government regulation, and, although the SEC is an independent agency not subject to these orders, it is reported that they may follow its spirit.

The SEC Rule is one of many under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that Republicans and business groups have opposed and SEC staff have an opportunity to issue interpretive guidance to scale back its requirements or, in a more aggressive move, can choose not to enforce it. Piwowar did not ask the president to temporarily suspend the conflict minerals rule for two years as would be permitted if it might harm national security, but he did raise some national security concerns posed by the rule, and said it has done nothing to help the humanitarian crisis in Africa.

In ITRI’s view, changes to the SEC reporting requirement will have limited impact on upstream due diligence which is now also part of the upcoming EU regulation on responsible minerals.

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