United States Joins Global Transparency Initiative Following Repeal of Congress

United States Joins Global Transparency Initiative Following Repeal of Congress

By Valerie Volcovici and Nerijus Adomaitis

WASHINGTON / OSLO (Reuters) – The United States remains committed to the “principles and objectives” of the global transparency initiative to combat corruption in the management of revenues from oil, gas and mineral extraction, it said Wednesday.

There were questions about the United States’ participation in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) after Congress removed the “resource extraction rule” that required companies like Exxon Mobil (NYSE 🙂 to disclose taxes and other fees paid to foreign governments, such as Russia.

The EITI, which was founded in 2003 and joined in 2014 by the United States, sets a global standard for governments to disclose their income from oil, gas and mining assets, and for companies to report payments made to obtain access to publicly owned resources. , as well as other donations.

“The Department (of the United States Interior) remains committed to the principles and objectives of the EITI, including transparency and good governance of the extractive sectors …”, said Heather Swift, spokeswoman for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, in an email to Reuters.

Industry sources familiar with EITI implementation said the United States was already withdrawing on everything but name, but could remain a formal member until its progress review is scheduled to begin in April 2018.

Azerbaijan left the group in March after the EITI board, chaired by former Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, suspended its membership over concerns about limits on civic freedoms.

The EITI initiative was primarily aimed at developing countries and the majority of its members are located in Africa. But Britain, Germany and Norway have also joined, while France and Australia have also expressed interest.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and former Republican Senator Richard Lugar, authors of the legislation encouraging US participation in the EITI, said the withdrawal would harm national interests.

“Such a withdrawal is a withdrawal of our values, which give America its strength and its moral leadership in the world,” they said in a joint statement.

Jonas Moberg, head of the EITI secretariat in Oslo, said the United States was still part of the global initiative, but if it decided to leave, it would not be the end of the initiative, which is now being rolled out in 51 countries.

“If President Trump‘s administration decides to end the implementation of the EITI, we are not concerned that it will be a decision followed elsewhere,” he added in an email to Reuters.

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), which represents 23 leading mining companies, has said that companies working in EITI member countries will have to follow strict disclosure standards, despite recent legal changes in the United States. .

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