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Curbing Supply-Chain Human Rights Violations Through Trade and Due Diligence. Possible WTO Concerns Raised by the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation

Journal of World Trade 51(6) (2017, Forthcoming)

T.M.C. Asser Institute for International & European Law 2017-02

29 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2017 Last revised: 29 Jun 2017

Enrico Partiti

T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Steffen van der Velde

T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Date Written: June 1, 2017

Abstract

The recent adoption of the EU Regulation laying down supply chain due diligence obligations for Union importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas constitutes an important step to curb particularly heinous crimes connected to the so-called ‘conflict minerals’ supply chains. The EU measure is remarkable insofar it incorporates an international soft-law instrument, the Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, and makes it mandatory for EU importers. Importers are under a mandatory obligation to engage in supply chain due diligence to avoid dealing in conflict minerals, and thus to regulate upstream entities. This contribution assesses the relation between such a regulatory strategy and provisions of WTO law. It assesses whether the EU bears responsibility for possible detrimental impacts stemming from the incorporation of the OECD Guidance and from the delegation of certain regulatory tasks to economic operators. Subsequently, it evaluates the status under international law of the OECD Guidance, and discusses whether its status can justify possible detrimental impacts stemming from the EU regime.

Keywords: WTO law, EU law, supply-chain regulations, OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises, conflict minerals

JEL Classification: K2, K33

Suggested Citation

Partiti, Enrico and van der Velde, Steffen, Curbing Supply-Chain Human Rights Violations Through Trade and Due Diligence. Possible WTO Concerns Raised by the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation (June 1, 2017). Journal of World Trade 51(6) (2017, Forthcoming); T.M.C. Asser Institute for International & European Law 2017-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2983039

Enrico Partiti

T.M.C. Asser Instituut ( email )

P.O. Box 30461
2500 GL The Hague, 2517JN
Netherlands

Steffen Van der Velde (Contact Author)

T.M.C. Asser Instituut ( email )

P.O. Box 30461
2500 GL The Hague, 2517JN
Netherlands

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