Conflict Minerals Compliance Continues to Stymie US Manufacturers

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As we mentioned when we wrapped up our conflict minerals compliance conference for manufacturers a few weeks back: “suppliers are going to need to get their programs in place quickly this year and into [2014], as the OEM programs steam into full gear.”

Many industry watchers echo this sentiment, most recently Peter Buxbaum over at EBN Online, which seems to mainly track the supply chains in the electronics industries.

Buxbaum takes a quick look at the various legal cases currently circling over the head of the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule [and manufacturers’ upcoming mandatory compliance to it], which derives from Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank legislation:

“Last October,” Buxbaum writes, “the National Association of Manufacturers and others filed a petition with the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, challenging the validity of the rule on the grounds that the SEC failed to consider alternatives that could have reduced the burden of compliance.” (Attendees and other audience members heard all about this at Conflict Minerals EDGE earlier this month.)

“Although the SEC agreed that the court of appeals had jurisdiction to hear the case, the court may disagree. And in light of the court’s ruling in the other case, it looks like the court will disagree,” according to Buxbaum.

Judges heard oral arguments in the NAM v. SEC case on May 15; legal experts expect a decision in a few months.

The takeaway?

As the nation’s leading conflict minerals attorney Michael Littenberg of Schulte, Roth & Zabel put it to audience members at Conflict Minerals EDGE: “The prevailing view is that the statute will be upheld. Even if the statute gets struck down in whole or in part, the SEC [will] impose a new conflict minerals rule, so this isn’t going to go away.”

In short – keep truckin’ on those compliance efforts!

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