Starting in May of 2014, impending US regulation will require publicly-traded manufacturers to disclose whether the metals in their products are conflict free.  Why? Section 1502 of the  Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law in 2010, dictates that publically-traded companies report the use of conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and neighboring countries — Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo Republic, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

[caption id="attachment_5545" align="alignright" width="300"]PHOTO via National Geographic PHOTO via National Geographic[/caption]

The industries that could be most affected by this new requirement to disclose the use of conflict minerals include healthcare, industrial manufacturing, electronics, aerospace, jewelry and automotive.

What classifies a mineral as a conflict mineral? Conflict minerals are those that are mined under hostile and harsh conditions. The miners are working by force under difficult conditions and with tools lacking efficiency.  According to Wikipedia, the US Conflict Minerals Law, also known as the Dodd-Frank Act,  contains two requirements that are closely connected: independent third party supply chain traceability audits and reporting of audit information to the public and SEC. However, even companies not directly regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will be impacted by the audit requirements because the requirements will be pushed down through entire supply chains, including privately held and foreign-owned companies.

Will you have to submit an annual conflict minerals report?  That depends on two key but critical concepts – are you required to file reports with the SEC, and two, are conflict minerals necessary to the functionality or production of the product you manufacture or are contracted to manufacture?  If both of these are true statements, then your company will be responsible for filing an annual conflict minerals report.

The efforts to track these minerals are an ongoing. View our past posts on the Conflict Mineral Reporting Requirement and Conflict Mineral Laws.

The full text of the Dodd-Frank Act can be found here, while a FAQ from the Security & Exchange Commission (SEC) can be accessed here.

Nihat Ergün, Turkish Minister of Technology, believes that trade volume between Turkey and Mexico should rise to as much as $5 billion following a 17 December 2013 agreement that will become the foundation for free trade negotiations.

Balkans business news reports that the Strategic Cooperation and Partnership Framework for the 21st Century had been signed by Turkish President Abdullah Gül and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto in Ankara on 17 December.

“Mexico and Turkey drew the attention of the world with their economic performance in the last years. However, economic relations of these two countries aren’t enough,” Ergün said.

Both countries recognize vast economic potential with each other and believe that the agreement will offer many opportunities. “Turkey is a door opening to Europe and Asia, while Mexico is a door opening to America and the Caribbean,” states Mexican President Nieto.

Hurriyet Daily News adds that the two countries have signed agreements in the fields of protecting mutual investments, incentives, preventing double taxation, aviation to establish direct connections with Turkish Airlines and Mexican companies, science, technology, tourism, security and fighting against organized crime.

Quebec’s cheese producers won’t stand alone; Premier Pauline Marois has stated that the Canada-Europe free trade agreement (FTA) won’t get her endorsement without a guarantee from Ottawa that the Quebec cheese industry will be compensated.

[caption id="attachment_5535" align="alignright" width="300"]AP Photo/Yves Logghe AP Photo/Yves Logghe[/caption]

According to the Brampton Guardian, the small cheese producers in Quebec fear they could lose close to $450 million a year if in competition with the European cheese makers. The Canadian federal government has ensured cheese producers that they’ll receive some compensation. However, cheese producers in Quebec are left without any word on when, or if, they’ll receive that compensation.

Marois believes that her stance on the FTA will not endanger the deal; however, her accord will not be presented without a final word on the producers’ compensation.

Despite the issue, which Marois stated has “caused some problems,” she fully supports the Canada-Europe FTA. "Our goal is to increase our exports to Europe by 10 per cent in five years," said Marois. "There is no doubt in my mind that this new agreement will help achieve this goal."

For the full story, click here.