Note: On November 13, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Tate Watkins entitled "How Dodd-Frank Led to More Mayhem in Africa." Below is the Enough Project's response, addressing some of the shortcomings of the author's arguments. Click here to read the original op-ed.
Relying on outdated, narrow arguments concerning the conflict minerals provision of the Dodd-Frank Act, Tate Watkins misses the provision’s enduring importance (How Dodd-Frank Led to More Mayhem in Africa, Nov. 13). The study Mr. Watkins casts as "forthcoming" is based on old data that has been proven wrong. It analyzes data only through 2012, before the provision was implemented, making any claim about Dodd-Frank's negative impact dubious at best. No embargo on the region exists today, and we now see more certified conflict-free mines in Congo than could have been imagined before Dodd-Frank. As often occurs in places where black markets are disrupted by reform, there have been negative impacts in Congo which require solutions. However, had the study Mr. Watkins references considered data past 2012 he would have seen how requiring businesses to report on conflict minerals due diligence is in fact achieving several critical goals.
Dodd-Frank's requirements underscore the world's interconnected economy and force businesses to evaluate the impact of their sourcing decisions. In some cases that has led to companies intentionally sourcing from, not abandoning Congo. Dodd-Frank has expedited due diligence systems that now enable an unprecedented level of company investigation into and collaboration about their supply chains. Finally, it has led to a decrease in armed group control over eastern Congo's mines.
This provision provides much-needed transparency for American and global consumers. As we learned in the financial crisis to which Dodd-Frank was a response, industries unwilling to scrutinize their supply chains can cause great harm.