David Martin MEP

Labour Member of the European Parliament and one of the six MEPs representing Scotland in Brussels and Strasbourg

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The European Parliament voted today to back new laws for the mandatory regulation of minerals imported into the EU, designed to break the link between armed conflict and the mineral trade - regulations Britain must maintain after Brexit, lest it regress to unethical trading practices, Labour MEPs have warned.

Scottish Labour MEP David Martin, Member of the European Parliament international trade committee, said:

“Labour MEPs knew a voluntary system would not have been effective and pushed hard for a mandatory approach and a broader coverage of the whole supply chain - this is a big victory for us. We can now show to our trading partners that the EU continues to be at the forefront of global efforts to create more transparent, responsible and sustainable business practices.

“Today’s vote represents a landmark step forward in ensuring responsibly-sourced products on our shelves. We cannot tolerate a situation where consumers buying jewellery or electronic products are unwittingly financing conflicts in some of the world’s poorest, most unstable countries.

“EU citizens have the right to know that the products they buy do not indirectly finance dictatorships abroad. It was unacceptable that the EU, through trade in minerals, was indirectly fuelling conflicts and human rights abuses in countries such as the DRC - and it would be truly unforgivable if the UK resiled from these new laws after Brexit and regressed to trading unethically.”
 

Notes:

1. The regulation now covers mandatory due diligence for smelters, refiners and importers of minerals and metals of 3TG (gold, titanium and tantalum-tungsten), whose imports exceed a specified annual threshold - ie. the vast majority of the imported volumes of each mineral and metal into the EU should be covered by due diligence requirements, preferably reaching full coverage of the imports of minerals and metals.

2. The OECD due diligence guidelines must serve as the overarching principle of this regulation - the recognition of existing and future (industry) due diligence schemes is a central element of the regulation. Conditions for recognition of such schemes should be robust and aligned with the OECD guidelines.

3. Recycled metals and by-products will not be covered.

4. External expertise will be called upon to provide an indicative list of conflict-affected and high-risk areas, based on existing information and identify high risk areas and areas where additional checks may be needed through a system of "red flags".

5. The European Commission will review the functioning and effectiveness of the Regulation and discuss the review report with European Parliament. The review will assess the adequacy and implementation of the due diligence systems and the latest impact of the scheme on the ground as well as the need for further mandatory measures in order to ensure sufficient leverage of the EU market on the global supply chain of responsibly-traded minerals.

 

As EU gets tough on conflict minerals trade, David Martin MEP warns that the UK cannot regress to unethical trading after Brexit

The European Parliament voted today to back new laws for the mandatory regulation of minerals imported into the EU, designed to break the link between armed conflict and the mineral...

One day before the UN World Wildlife Day, the European Parliament today adopted a report on how EU trade policy can contribute to the fight against wildlife trafficking and preserve biodiversity.

Wildlife trafficking is an enormously profitable criminal activity estimated at EUR 20 billion yearly revenue. The EU leads efforts in tackling both the supply and demand side of poaching and the trafficking of protected species.

Scottish MEP David Martin and shadow rapporteur of the report, said:

“The EU is not only an important destination for illegal wildlife products but also a crucial transit route. The EU must do its utmost to stamp out this awful trade which threatens endangered species and fragile ecosystems.

“Firstly, wildlife crime must be tackled in the EU’s external trade policy. Free trade agreements are an excellent opportunity to strengthen international rules on this through commitments in ambitious trade and sustainable development chapters. The recently negotiated EU-Vietnam trade deal pays close attention to wildlife sustainability and in this respect, must be a model for future trade negotiations.

“Secondly, existing EU measures must be implemented effectively, especially at member state level. All EU countries must take responsibility for this issue.”

Protecting wildlife with a progressive trade policy

One day before the UN World Wildlife Day, the European Parliament today adopted a report on how EU trade policy can contribute to the fight against wildlife trafficking and preserve...

The European Parliament today gave the green light to the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), paving the way for its provisional application.

David Martin, Labour MEP for Scotland and member of the international trade committee, said:

“CETA is a progressive agreement for Europe and for the UK. Together with our Canadian allies we are standing firm against growing global protectionism, championing open trade in a time when others are losing faith.

Behind the scenes, MEPs have been fighting the corner of EU citizens to secure unprecedented changes to the final text, safeguarding our high standards, public services, workers’ rights and global environmental protection. CETA is not the perfect deal, but we can look back and be very proud of what we have achieved in this process.

This is a watershed moment - EU trade policy will never be the same again.”

On the implications for the potential UK-EU trade deal, Mr Martin added:

“CETA has given us just a small flavour of what to expect when Trade Minister Liam Fox and his raw recruits approach the EU’s battle-hardened trade negotiators for a post-Brexit deal. The process has been long, and a number of concerns - some genuine and some clearly not - have repeatedly stalled progress.

Mr Fox will soon realise that modern trade agreements are not easy to conclude, as they are more about setting global rules than just reducing tariffs. Parliaments are taking back control of trade policy and will not settle for bad, de-regulating deals that have nothing to say on workers and the environment.”

CETA: a good deal for Europe, lessons for the UK-EU deal

The European Parliament today gave the green light to the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), paving the way for its provisional application.


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