Footwear Firms Face Conflict Minerals Confusion

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FDRAWashington—Confusion continues to reign over new rules on the use of “conflict minerals” sourced from central Africa by footwear companies in the United States, according to The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA).

The association reports that legal challenges from trade groups against the new SEC rules have failed on all but one count, following a majority decision by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The new rules, enforced in line with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, require companies to disclose whether rare minerals sourced from war-torn regions in central Africa have been used in the production of their goods.

However, this has proven especially difficult for footwear companies, prompting the legal challenge.

The court rejected most of the associations’ arguments, but ruled that parts of the act and the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule violated the First Amendment.

However, the court did not stop the implementation of the Conflicts Mineral Rule, and the implications of its ruling are as yet unclear, said the FDRA.

It advised companies to continue to press on with inquiries on conflict minerals and to be prepared to make disclosures on the matter by the deadline of June 2.