Earlier today, the EU released a proposal to establish a voluntary program for self certifying conformance to a “responsible importer” scheme for conflict minerals.
Although the proposal appears to be generally complementary to the US requirements, there are also major differences. The biggest difference is that the EU proposal does not appear to place any direct obligations on manufacturers who use tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold in their products. The focus is limited to importers of the ores and metal forms that are named in Annex I of the proposal.
Article 6 of the proposal outlines the requirements for a third party audit. The scope of the audit appears to go beyond the audit scope/objective of the US requirements (although like the US counterpart, the language concerning the audit is less than clear), and incorporates by reference the ISO-based minimal auditor competence and qualifications of the OECD Due Diligence Framework. Again, the audit only applies to importers of the ores or metals and not to manufacturers who use the metals within their products.
The European Parliament must approve the proposal in order for it to be final and effective. Observers expect the proposal to be taken up in September.