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NRF Asks Court to Exempt Retailers From Conflict Minerals Rule

Sep 23, 2013 10:38 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... The National Retail Federation (NRF) urged the U.S. to exclude retailers from  regulations requiring manufacturers to determine whether merchandise contains “conflict” gold and other minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) under provisions of the  Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that take effect in 2014. The legislation is intended to reduce funding from gold, tin, tungsten and other minerals that ultimately supply rebel groups with cash to buy arms in the DRC, among other things.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable and others are seeking an expedited appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals against the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) to prevent or delay Dodd-Frank's reporting provisions before the first disclosures are due in May.

In a friend-of-the-court filing,  the NRF argued that the Dodd-Frank regulations make no practical sense to the industry as manufacturers and retailers have fundamentally different functions in the commercial world and they have fundamentally different obligations under the statute at issue. Manufacturers must know about materials and parts in their products, the NRF wrote, but retailers who are ordering products have “little more ability to learn about and control the source of their components than a consumer who custom orders furniture.”

The regulations cover products clearly containing metals such as jewelry and electronics but also some apparel and cosmetics. NRF has argued that even if a retailer knows what minerals are in its products, it is difficult to know the source of the minerals.

Tags: briefing, conflict minerals, court, dodd-frank, Jeff Miller, National Retail Federation
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