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U.S. Commerce Department Prioritizes Mozambique in 2015

Posted in Corporate and Investment, Public Policy and Government Affairs

One of the most important opportunities to emerge from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit was the Obama Administration’s commitment to increasing the counseling and technical assistance provided to U.S. private sector companies who are looking to do business in Africa.  Several recent Commerce Department announcements related to Mozambique indicate that that country is a priority market for the Administration.

Starting in January 2015, newly appointed Senior Commercial Officer for Mozambique Jane Kitson will take up her post in Maputo.  A veteran of the U.S. Commercial Service and former Senior Commercial Officer for Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, Ms. Kitson will be “responsible for opening the U.S. Commercial Service office in Maputo and for promoting U.S. exports to this new emerging market.”  This development is welcome progress on the Commerce Department’s announcement earlier this year that its International Trade Administration “will more than double its presence in Africa, opening their first-ever offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique.”

Mozambique also features in two of the Trade Missions that the Commerce Department is organizing for 2015.  In the first half of 2015, there will be a Trade Mission to Mozambique, Kenya, and South Africa.  Focusing on the energy equipment and services, transportation infrastructure and equipment, agricultural equipment, and medical technologies sectors, the Mission “will include one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors and joint venture partners; meetings with national and regional government officials, chambers of commerce, and business groups; and networking receptions.”

In the second half of 2015, the Trade Winds-Africa Business Development Conference and Trade Mission will include a stop in Mozambique as well as Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.  In addition to the Trade Missions to Mozambique and these other countries, 2015 Trade Winds-Africa “will feature an Africa focused business forum, consisting of regional and industry specific conference sessions as well as pre-arranged consultations with U.S. Senior Government Diplomats representing commercial markets from 19 different countries throughout the region.”

A country whose transition from conflict to frontier economy has been described by the World Bank as “nothing short of impressive,” Mozambique holds considerable promise for investors from a variety of industries.  U.S. companies interested in this market would do well to avail themselves of the assistance being provided by the Commerce Department and other agencies.

Are Chinese Companies Retooling in Africa?

Posted in Corporate and Investment

Chinese companies are adopting new approaches to investing in Africa. These changes, if they become widespread, will boost the positive impact of China on Africa’s development agenda and improve how Chinese companies are perceived on the continent.

Conversations in China last month suggest a growing perception that the country’s model of extending low-interest commercial loans to African governments for large infrastructure projects—loans that are used to finance the purchase of Chinese labor, goods and services and are in turn repaid through the transfer of oil, minerals or other natural resources—is not sustainable.

China Identifies New Opportunities and Approaches in Africa

With government support, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have begun to look at alternative, market-based financing solutions for their projects, possibly including Western private equity and other sources of funding. An example of Beijing’s new thinking was the announcement earlier this year by the People’s Bank of China and the African Development Bank (AfDB) of the establishment of a $2 billion co-financing fund. The partnership with the African Development Bank has been described, accurately, “as an attempt to rebrand Chinese economic activities in Africa and improve their effectiveness.”

This shift in approach creates new opportunities for trilateral cooperation with other AfDB donors, including the United States. China can also leverage its new participation in the international development institution to resolve commercial disputes.

Chinese officials are also recognizing the need to participate more actively in the communities where they invest in Africa. In fact, while corporate social responsibility is still a new concept for many Chinese companies, it received attention in the 2013 report on China-Africa trade published by the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC), a think tank of the Ministry of Commerce.[1]

In addition, the CAITEC report states that 82 percent, or 17,600 employees, of the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation staff in Africa are local hires. The Chinese National Minerals Corporation has hired 12,500 workers in Zambia. Despite these positive developments, it seems that company investments in local training, health and education programs, local sourcing initiatives and compliance with international environmental, transparency or labor standards might still be missing, as they are not mentioned in the report.

The decision by the Huajian shoe company to establish a production facility in Ethiopia is also a reflection of China’s new thinking about Africa, and using certain markets as manufacturing platforms to export to global markets. It is projected that rising labor costs could cause China to export 80 million manufacturing jobs, and both Chinese manufacturers and African governments understand the opportunity that exists to relocate many of those jobs to the African continent.[2] The Huajian factory already employs 3,500 Ethiopian workers and last year produced 2 million pairs of shoes, which are eligible for export to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

China Still Faces Criticism on the Continent

Chinese companies have gained a greater appreciation for the risks and complexities of investing in the African market. Several mega-deals gone wrong has generated an awareness that a singular reliance on government-to-government relations is not sufficient for commercial success in Africa. The recent decision by the China Machine Engineering Corporation to pull out of the Belinga iron ore mine in Gabon, valued at $3.5 billion, is a case in point.

Indeed, the kidnapping of Chinese workers in northern Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia reflect the reality that Chinese nationals run risks similar to other expatriate employees. The experience of China in Libya in the aftermath of the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi was especially sobering as more than 35,000 Chinese workers from 75 companies had to be evacuated, and Chinese companies lost nearly $20 billion in investments.

Despite the awareness in some quarters of the need for a new business model, problems still persist for Chinese companies in Africa. In May, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed a multibillion dollar deal in Nairobi with the leaders of Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda to build a standard gauge railway that is projected to cut freight costs by more than 60 percent and boost regional trade.

Almost immediately however, local communities in Kenya protested reports that China would import 5,000 laborers to work on the project. The Kenya portion of the rail was awarded to the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) without a competitive bidding process, reportedly a condition of the financing. The CRBC is a subsidiary of the China Communications Construction Company, which has been debarred by the World Bank from bidding on any tenders from 2009 until 2017 due to allegations of fraud and corruption. In Uganda, its parliament has initiated a probe into the procurement process of its portion of the railroad after the government overturned a construction award to the China Civil Engineering Construction Company in favor of China Harbour Engineering Company.

To achieve long-term commercial success in Africa, Chinese companies need to invest in Africans in a more substantial way (while investing on the continent), comply with rule of law and maintain transparent business procedures. These realities have been recognized by some in Beijing and, as a result, have the potential for enhancing the positive impact of China’s engagement in Africa.


[1] “China-Africa Trade and Economic Relationship, Annual Report, 2013, Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, p. 7.

[2] Turning Ethiopia Into China’s China By Kevin Hamlin, Ilya Gridneff, and William Davison July 24, 2014; http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-07-24/ethiopia-vies-for-chinas-vanishing-factory-jobs

 

 

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Signs National Health Bill Into Law

Posted in Public Health

On December 9, 2014, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the National Health Bill, which was approved by the Nigerian Senate earlier this year.  The new law is intended to provide a framework for the regulation, development, and management of a national health system in Nigeria.

What the Act does

The National Health Act creates a Basic Health Care Provision Fund to provide Nigerians with access to basic health care services.  Fifty percent of this fund will be allocated to the National Health Insurance Scheme to provide health coverage for pregnant women, children under the age of five, the elderly, and persons who are physically challenged.  The other half of the Fund will be used to provide essential vaccines and consumables for eligible primary healthcare centers (“PHC”), maintenance of facilities, equipment, and transport for PHC facilities, and development of human resources for PHCs with a goal of extending primary healthcare to Nigerians living in hard-to-reach rural communities.  The Fund will be subsidized from 1% of Nigeria’s Consolidated Revenue Fund as well as contributions from state and local governments.

The law also requires universal acceptance of accident and other emergency cases by all health facilities (public and private), provides for improved standards and quality of healthcare in health facilities, and prohibits the use of public funds by Nigerian public office holders and civil servants seeking medical treatment abroad.

It is hoped that the bill will help Nigeria reduce mortality rates in the country and move more quickly toward achieving its Millennium Development Goals.

Implementation

Nigerian health care advocates have lauded President Jonathan for signing the bill, noting that it is a significant step towards providing universal health coverage for all Nigerians.  The challenge now will be implementing the various programs outlined in the bill.  Given the past problems in implementing other acts of Parliament, a coalition of non-governmental organizations working on health systems issues — the Health Sector Reform Coalition (“HSRC”) — has called upon Nigerians to join forces with other stakeholders to ensure the full implementation of Act.  In particular, the HSRC has taken it upon itself to compel state governments to provide their counterpart funding for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.  Other civil society organizations — such as the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood — have called for the establishment of an implementation committee to ensure the effective and transparent implementation of the Act.

While it remains to be seen whether the objectives of the National Health Act will be achieved, it is hoped that Nigeria will serve as a good example to other countries in Africa with respect to creating a sound health care sector.

Kenya and the ICC: Reconciling the Past

Posted in Current Events, Public Policy and Government Affairs

Although a certain level of violence has accompanied Kenya’s electoral process since the restoration of multi-party politics in 1991, the 2007 presidential elections saw an unprecedented level of violence that was “by far the most deadly and the most destructive violence ever experienced in Kenya.”  It left over 1,100 Kenyans dead and between 350,000 and 500,000 displaced.  Over seven years later, the question of whether victims will see justice or perpetrators will be held accountable remains unanswered.  Much of the discussion of the decision of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor to drop the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for his alleged role in the violence has been on whether the international court has the ability to end impunity and bring justice.  However, the court is a forum of last resort that was established to be “complementary to national criminal jurisdictions.”  Focusing on the international court incorrectly absolves Kenya of its ongoing failure to shoulder its responsibility for bringing justice and accountability in the aftermath of the elections violence.

The requisite legal framework has been in place for years namely under the Penal Code, the Sexual Offences Act, and the International Crimes Act.  Furthermore, the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence provided a number of recommendations as to how to strengthen these domestic laws and resolve obstacles to applying them to cases arising under the post-election violence.  As is too often the case, the challenge has been in implementation.  The relevant actors have proven either unable or unwilling to pursue investigations and prosecute alleged offenders.  Indeed, near the beginning of this year, the Kenyan Director of Public Prosecutions (“DPP”) revealed that none of the 5,000 pending post-election violence cases were “prosecutable.”

The government now has stated that it will establish an International and Organized Crimes Division (“IOCD”) within the High Court by the end of the year.  However, whether this body will address the 2007 post-election violence remains under debate.  It is not promising that the DPP has opposed the creation of the IOCD and claimed that it would be unconstitutional for the body to have its own independent prosecutor or investigative division.

It is far past time for Kenya to demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law by confronting and reforming the shortcomings in a legal framework that seems tailored to, but yet has not served, the victims of the 2007 elections.  Regardless of how the ICC proceeds with the cases that are still open, the onus is — and always has been — on Kenya to bring justice and accountability to its citizens.

HHS Issues PREP Act Declaration Covering Ebola Vaccines

Posted in Public Health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) published a declaration today under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (“PREP”) Act covering activities relating to three Ebola vaccine candidates that are currently in development.  The declaration went into effect on December 3, 2014 and extends liability protection to manufacturers, distributors, program planners, and qualified persons who prescribe, administer, or dispense the vaccine candidates identified in the declaration when distributed in connection with a federal contract, grant, or other agreement, or as directed in a public health emergency.  The declaration represents another significant step in the federal government’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, following recent actions taken by HHS and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to fund the development of Ebola countermeasures and related products and services.

The PREP Act was originally enacted in 2005 to address liability concerns raised by the use and distribution of countermeasures for pandemic Influenza viruses.  Under the PREP Act, the Secretary of HHS is generally authorized to provide covered individuals and entities with protection from suit and liability under federal and state law for losses related to the administration or use of specifically identified countermeasures after determining that a disease, condition, or other threat constitutes a present or credible risk of a future public health emergency.  The Secretary must define the scope of protections afforded by each declaration, including the countermeasures, geographic areas, subject populations, time periods, and means of distribution covered by the declaration.  Since its original enactment, the PREP Act has been used to issue declarations covering various countermeasures for pandemic Influenza viruses, including medical devices designed to detect or treat pandemic Influenza viruses, Acute Radiation Syndrome, Smallpox, Botulism, Anthrax, and now Ebola virus.

The protection afforded by a PREP Act declaration is valuable to covered individuals and entities because a declaration generally allows them to assert immunity from suit, rather than litigate entitlement to reimbursement as may be required under other forms of liability protection, such as insurance or indemnification for unusually hazardous risks under Public Law 85-804.  However, every PREP Act declaration to date has limited the potential scope of this protection by covering the administration or use of covered countermeasures only when they are distributed in connection with a federal contract, grant, or other agreement, or as directed in a public health emergency.  In addition, PREP Act declarations do not offer protection for claims arising under foreign law or brought in a foreign court, which is of particular relevance to declarations targeting activities conducted primarily overseas.  PREP Act declarations also do not protect willful misconduct causing death or serious physical injury, which is defined to exclude certain regulated and directed activities in circumstances described in the Act.

The Ebola declaration covers the manufacture, testing, development, distribution, physical administration, and use of the vaccine candidates identified in the declaration.  Other than vaccine candidates that are obtained for the Strategic National Stockpile, which are statutorily protected through their distribution or release, the declaration will protect covered activities for a two-year period.  The declaration contains no geographic limitation and broadly defines the subject population, explicitly extending protection from liability to the administration of the vaccine candidates, prescription of doses, and related management and operational decisions in West Africa, including liability for security decisions made at vaccine administration sites and premises liability.

The Secretary of HHS has encouraged other countries to implement similar liability protections to facilitate a global response to the Ebola outbreak.  The World Health Organization also pushed for liability protections at an emergency meeting held earlier this year.

Botswana Court Overturns Ban on Gay Rights Lobbying Group

Posted in Current Events, Public Policy and Government Affairs

Last month, a Botswana court ruled that a local gay rights organization called LEGABIBO had the right to be registered under Botswana law as a lobbying organization.  The ruling overturned an earlier ruling by Botswana’s Department of Labor and Home Affairs which blocked the organization from registering as a civil society organization under the Botswana Societies Act.  LEGABIBO’s application was denied on the grounds that homosexual conduct is illegal under Botswana law, and the Botswana Societies Act allows the government to deny registration to any organization “likely to be used for any unlawful purpose prejudicial to or incompatible with peace, welfare or good order in Botswana.

In coming to its decision, the court rejected the Department’s arguments for refusing the registration of the local group, stating that “[a]dvocacy or lobbying is protected by the right to freedom of expression as well as freedom of association . . . [i]t goes without saying that denying people whose sexual orientation is not a crime in Botswana the right to register for a society for the purposes of lawfully carrying out advocacy for inter alia decriminalization of homosexuality is a clear violation of their constitutional right to freedom of expression, assembly and association contrary to Section 3 of the Constitution.”  The decision carefully distinguished between lobbying for the decriminalization of homosexuality, and engaging in homosexual conduct, which remains a crime under Botswana law.

Homosexual activity is currently banned in 38 African countries, and can result in the death penalty in 3 countries.  As noted in our blog post of August 25, 2014, Uganda’s Constitutional Court overturned the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) — which imposed a life sentence for certain homosexual conduct and criminalized the “promotion,” “aiding,” and “abetting” of homosexuality — on procedural grounds, holding that the Act’s passing was unconstitutional because the necessary quorum of lawmakers was not present in parliament to vote on the bill.

In the wake of the Botswana ruling, the United Nations urged other African countries to lift bans on lobbying for gay rights.

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Issues Landmark Ruling on Criminal Defamation Laws

Posted in Media, Internet, and Technology, Public Policy and Government Affairs

Today, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued its judgment on the landmark freedom of speech case, Lohé Issa Konaté v. Burkina Faso.  In a major victory for media and human rights organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Court “has ruled that imprisonment for defamation violates the right to freedom of expression while criminal defamation laws should only be used in restricted circumstances.”  The Court now has added its voice to the chorus of bodies — including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Union’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa — which have spoken out against these laws.  Considering that criminal defamation laws are an unfortunate relic of colonialism that are “nearly always used to punish legitimate criticism of powerful people,” the decision of the Court (which is final and binding on state Parties to the Protocol to the African Charter) is a significant and historic step forward in realizing freedom of speech across the continent.

Nigeria Launches New Corporate Governance Rating System

Posted in Anti-Corruption, Corporate and Investment, Current Events

            Earlier this month, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Nigeria’s Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) announced the launch of a Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS) that will rank NSE-listed companies based on their corporate governance practices and anti-corruption policies.  The new rating system is designed to promote a more transparent business climate in Nigeria and to attract foreign investment by enabling individuals to better assess the corruption risks associated with NSE-listed companies.

            Corruption and weak corporate governance are significant inhibitors of investment in Africa, and Nigeria’s establishment of the CGRS is one of many recent efforts being made across Africa to improve corporate accounting and governance.  The CGRS will implement a multi-stakeholder approach to assess 190 of the NSE’s major listed companies, including Oando PLC, Total Nigeria PLC, and Unilever Nigeria PLC.  According to the Executive Director of CBi, Soji Apampa, the rating system incorporates information acquired through companies’ self-assessments, as well as the experiences of stakeholders and experts.  Rankings will reflect companies’ business policies, internal and external audit and controls, and transparency measures.  Individual board members will be subject to a test reflecting their understanding of their fiduciary duties, and regulators, investors, suppliers and employees will also be subject to interviews.

            The NSE’s Chief Executive, Oscar Onyema, has stated that in January 2015, NSE will also create a “Premium Board” listing major Nigerian companies that exhibit the highest standards of corporate governance, as reflected by the CGRS rankings.  By 2015, NSE hopes to use the CGRS rankings to develop and launch a tradable corporate governance index capturing all listed companies.  The current rankings, which were announced on November 3, 2014, reflect the 2013 – 2014 pilot phase of the system’s development, during which a number of listed companies voluntarily submitted to the CGRS assessment.  

            Despite the severe poverty experienced by many of its citizens, Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, with a GDP of $U.S. 510 billion and rich reserves of oil, natural gas, and other resources.  The country’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business report has improved, rising from 175 to 170 over the last year.  Nigeria boasts a significant emerging market and a booming population that is expected to exceed that of the United States’ by 2050.  In light of its unique demographic and economic circumstances, Nigeria’s battle against corruption and ability to attract foreign investment will undoubtedly influence the realization of its substantial economic potential.

Fighting Corruption to Achieve Security

Posted in Anti-Corruption, Current Events, Security

On October 23, 2014, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice, Leslie Caldwell, described the fight against corruption as “a necessary enforcement action to protect our own national security interests and the ability of our U.S. companies to compete on a global scale.”  These comments not only apply to the enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) but also highlight the long recognized notion that corruption can threaten peace and security.  Today, the threat posed by corruption to security is especially relevant to Africa and the Middle East.

Transparency International cites corruption as undermining the development of state authorities and institutions, which can make it easier for insurgents and terrorists to operate and grow.  Corruption is a particular concern for post-conflict countries, as TI cites a constant correlation between corruption and conflict.

Consider the numbers.  Out of the 50 countries listed on the FCPA Blog’s latest Corporate Investigations List, 19 are in Africa or the Middle East.  Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index has consistently ranked several countries in Africa and the Middle East as those with public sectors perceived to be more corrupt.  In TRACE International’s TRACE Matrix, a business bribery risk index, countries in Africa and the Middle East tend to be assigned higher overall risk scores.  And a recent survey published by the Pew Research Center and spanning a number of continents found that “Africans are far and away the most concerned about corruption (a median of 85%).”  A median of 71% of those polled in the Middle East ranked corruption as a top problem.

When state institutions become corruptible, not only can the lack of meaningful law enforcement set the stage for lawlessness, it can provide an especially attractive environment for terrorist elements to build, flourish, and spread.  The list of terrorist organizations currently operating in the Middle East and Africa is a long one, and includes:  the so-called Islamic State in the Levant, the Al-Nusra Front in Syria, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis in Egypt, Ansar Al-Sharia in Libya, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al-Shabab in Somalia, and Boko Haram in Nigeria.  Many of these groups have gained prominence only in recent years.  A particularly pressing concern now is any actual or attempted cooperation between these groups.

Like the fight against terrorism, the fight against corruption has tackled the flow of money.  This is especially important for Africa.  According to Global Financial Integrity (GFI), economies in Africa have lost between $597 billion and $1.4 trillion in net resource transfers in the past three decades.  Another report from GFI found that for every year between 2002 and 2011, sub-Saharan Africa lost, on average, 5.7% of total gross domestic product (GDP) to illicit outflows.

While there is still much to be done to combat corruption in Africa and the Middle East, there have been some efforts on the ground.  In addition to a range of regional and national anti-corruption initiatives and bodies in place, notable recent developments include:  South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma being investigated for allegedly using $19 million in public funds to renovate his home; Ghana’s Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) finding that the government had paid $2.4 million to over 22,000 ghost workers and that officials at the national service secretariat had offered bribes to BNI officials; Nigeria planning to increase spending on its police force to curb corruption; and the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Jordan each receiving some praise for their respective efforts.  Similarly, a number of African and Middle Eastern states have countered terrorism by beefing up law enforcement, enacting legislation, monitoring financing, and coordinating with regional and global partners.

In the years to come, states in Africa and the Middle East will no doubt continue to be key partners in fighting corruption and striving for stronger global security.

Debate in the European Parliament on the European Commission’s Conflict Minerals Proposal

Posted in Public Policy and Government Affairs, Trade Controls and Policy

On November 6, the Committee on International Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament will have a first exchange of views on the proposal presented in March by the European Commission (EC) on “Minerals originating in conflict affected and high risk areas.” This is the European Union version of the so-called Dodd-Frank 1502 legislation in the United States, which, as of May of this year, imposes reporting obligations to end users of “conflict minerals” originating from the Great Lakes region in Central Africa.

The Commission proposal did not make too many waves when it was presented as it was essentially suggesting a non-binding regime, imposing no obligation to the end user. The draft regulation suggested a European Union system of self-certification for importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold who would choose to import “responsibly” into the Union. Importers would be required to exercise “due diligence” by monitoring and administering their purchases in line with the relevant Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines. To increase public accountability, a list of “responsible smelters and refiners” would be set up every year. Companies selling products containing these minerals would receive public procurement incentives while SMEs and the OECD would get financial support.

If the products covered are the same as those covered by Dodd Frank 1502, the geographical scope proposed by the European Commission is radically different. The scope covers all “conflict zones” in the world, not only the Great Lakes region. The Commission judged that focusing on a specific region would be politically difficult to justify and maintained that the global approach would not be overly problematic as the regime was voluntary. If the regulation had been made mandatory and reporting obligations had been imposed to the end users, it would raise new and complex questions, as was the case with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s implementation of Dodd Frank 1502.

Even if it was strongly criticized for its “lack of ambition” by a coalition of rights groups, including Global Witness and Amnesty International, the proposal is not likely to be changed by the new Juncker Commission; Cecilia Malmström, the new Trade Commissioner, and the Commissioner in charge of Development Neven Mimica, both confirmed at their hearing in the Parliament in October that they would stick to the voluntary regime proposed by Commissioner De Gucht.

In the European Parliament, echoing the reaction of the NGO coalition, many criticisms can be heard about this proposal. It is likely that serious attempts will be made to make the European regime mandatory, as is Dodd Frank but in this case, it would be applicable all over the world.

The first efforts in the Parliament will aim at widening the discussion. The Green Group has already asked that the proposal be not only under the competence of the Trade Committee but also the Development and the Foreign Affairs Committee. They have also challenged the legal basis, currently a Trade article, to have it based on articles relating to Development Co-ooperation.

The debate starts this week and will set the tone for further work. A hearing is already announced for the beginning of December in the Trade and Development Committees. The discussion is likely to continue next year until a consolidated Parliament position can be confronted with a “general approach” of the Council. The legislation indeed needs to be adopted in “co-decision” by the Parliament and the Council. Discussion in the Council will start soon under the Italian Presidency.