Category Archives: nl2016q3

IEC – IEC 63000 (Technical Documentation) Draft Receives Strong Approval

IEC National Committees (NCs) overwhelmingly approved the draft IEC 63000 “Technical documentation for the assessment of electrical and electronic products with respect to the restriction of hazardous substances”. Voting closed on July 1, 2016 and the ballot received almost unanimous approval (including from the U.S. and Canada) except for a single no vote.

The no vote is with regard to a CENELEC procedural concern rather than a technical issue. The European CENELEC organization (the standards body that published EN 50581 for EU RoHS) will simultaneously publish the new EN 63000. Once EN 63000 is published, the European Commission will update the harmonized standard for EU RoHS to include EN 63000 which will eventually replace EN 50581. In 2019, after a 3-year transition period, the EN 50581 will be withdrawn by CENELEC.

EU – Six Substances under Consultation as SVHCs

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has launched their fall consultation of additional substances for the REACH Candidate List of SVHCs. Six substances (see Table 1) have been proposed.

The IEC 62474 Validation Team is currently reviewing the substances for potential applicability to the EEE industry.

Table 1: Proposed SVHCs under Consultation

Substance_NameEC_numberCAS_number
4,4’-isopropylidenediphenol (bisphenol A)201-245-880-05-7
4-Heptylphenol, branched and linear [substances with a linear and/or branched alkyl chain with a carbon number of 7 covalently bound predominantly in position 4 to phenol, covering also UVCB- and well-defined substances which include any of the individual isomers or a combination thereof]
4-tert-butylphenol202-679-098-54-4
Benzene-1,2,4-tricarboxylic acid 1,2-anhydride (trimellitic anhydride)209-008-0552-30-7
Nonadecafluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) and its sodium and ammonium salts206-400-3,
221-470-5
3108-42-7,
335-76-2,
3830-45-3
p-(1,1-dimethylpropyl)phenol201-280-980-46-6

Taiwan – Dates for RoHS Requirements

The Taiwan Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI) in August announced their schedule for bringing product categories into scope of their RoHS-like regulation (CNS 15663), as reported by ChemicalWatch. The regulation was announced via a WTO notification in mid-2015 but the actual compliance dates were still up in the air at that time. The following products and compliance dates have been reported:

  • 1 December 2016 – drinking fountains;
  • 1 July 2017 – IT equipment, including automatic data processing machines, printers, photocopying machines, televisions and monitors. Also proposed for this date are projectors and lighting equipment, such as fluorescent tubes; and
  • 1 January 2018 – word processors, such as typewriters and cashiers (43 items in total) and wireless items, such as keyboards, mice and scanners (48 items in total).

The list of IT products for 1 July 2017 date is generally aligned with the scope proposed in the July 2015 WTO notification plus the extension notified in September 2015 (reported in the July 2016 and October 2015 ECD Environmental Reports). Certain accessory products and other long life-cycle products such as typewriters and cash registers were given additional time. The inclusion of drinking fountains in the timeline is presumably linked to recent concerns and regulations related to Lead (Pb) in drinking water faucets.

The Taiwan regulation follows the EU RoHS Directive in excluding certain types of products and parts such as batteries and military equipment.

The RoHS requirements are implemented under the Taiwan “Commodity Inspection Act”, referencing Taiwan BSMI standard CNS 15663 “Guidance to reduction of the chemical substances in electrical and electronic equipments” and in particular, Section 5 “marking of presence” .

The Taiwan RoHS regulation requires specific registration, marking, labeling and testing requirements as specified in CNS 15663.  These are somewhat aligned with the China RoHS requirements, but are still different.

 

Singapore – RoHS Regulation Published

The Singapore Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) has published its anticipated RoHS-like regulation (No S 263). The regulation restricts the six original EU RoHS substances but only for a subset of the products included in the EU RoHS Directive. The restrictions and other obligations under the regulation were implemented by amending the Environmental Protection and Management Act (Chapter 94A) and will take effect starting June 1, 2017. Products include:

  • mobile phones;
  • laptops;
  • refrigerators;
  • air conditioners;
  • panel television sets; and
  • washing machines.

The regulation excludes batteries (rechargeable and non-rechargeable) and products designed for industrial use only.

The Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA) says that manufacturers and importers of EEE products will be required to submit a RoHS declaration of conformity before selling products in Singapore.

EU – Update on Renewal of RoHS Exemptions / EU – Reaction to EU RoHS Exemption Renewal Report

One June 27, 2016, the Commission posted Oeko-Institut’s report on the bulk of the requests for EU RoHS exemption renewals. The report covers renewal requests for 29 RoHS 2 Annex III exemptions including: no. l(a to e -lighting purpose), no. l(f – special purpose), no. 2(a), no. 2(b)(3), no. 2(b)(4), no. 3, no. 4(a), no. 4(b), no. 4(c), no. 4(e), no. 4(f), no. 5(b), no. 6(a), no. 6(b), no. 6(c), no. 7(a), no. 7(c) – I, no. 7(c) – II, no. 7(c) – IV, no. 8(b), no. 9, no. 15, no. 18b, no. 21, no. 24, no. 29, no. 32, no. 34, no. 37.

In general, all of the exemptions with renewal requests have been recommended for renewal in one form or another; however, several of the exemptions have a narrower scope of allowed use than the current exemption or a short timeframe before expiry for certain applications.  The complete report (all 864 pages) is available on the Commission’s website. A summary table of recommendations is available in the Executive Summary at the front of the report.  We’ve also provided below an excerpt, analysis and discussion of the more commonly used exemptions in EEE products.

Note: the dates in the discussion below focus on product categories 1-7, 10, and 11. The exemption period for category 8 (medical devices) and 9 (monitoring and control instruments) is typically recommended for a longer time given the extra two years provided to these products in the RoHS Directive.

Exemption 6 – Lead in Alloys

The consultant’s recommendations for the lead in alloys exemptions mark the beginning of the end – the Commission’s push to begin phasing out these lead in alloy exemptions wherever possible.  The 6a (lead in steel), 6b (lead in aluminium alloys), and 6c (lead in copper alloys) exemptions are recommended for renewal, but generally with a short three-year duration for most product categories.  Some of the exemptions are also recommended for carving into multiple parts, usually with tighter scope and/or reduced concentration levels.

The renewal applications did not provide a lot of information to distinguish which applications still need the exemption and which don’t; therefore the consultant proposes a three-year timeframe for manufacturers and their supply chain to provide better information to justify longer term exemptions for applications that still need them; the consultants, otherwise recommend that the exemptions are allowed to expire after the three years. This “ultimatum” will certainly cause significant concern within the EEE industry and supply base. The consultants acknowledge that machining and other fabrication processes may need to be modified to accommodate non-lead materials.

Exemption 6a (Lead as an alloying element in steel for machining purposes and in galvanized steel containing up to 0.35% lead by weight) was split up based on application. In particular the allowed concentration level for galvanized steel components has been reduced to 0.2% lead. This exemption is known to be misused in many steel parts, regardless of application and the need for using lead. Separating the exemption based on application may put more visibility and accountability to justify the purpose of the lead in steel.

 

EU – Report on unsafe Consumer Products

The European Commission has published statistics for 2015 on notices of unsafe products as processed through the EU’s rapid information system (RAPEX). According to the Commissions statistics, there were 1752 notifications during 2015. Electrical appliances and equipment accounted for 199 of the notifications.

 

USA – Revision of Energy Star Requirements for Servers

An update to the enterprise server specification for Energy Star is underway — this will be version 3.0 of the specification. The first draft specification and a cover letter were posted on the Energy Star website6 on July 27, 2016. The U.S. EPA is requesting feedback on the specification until August 26, 2016.
The cover letter identifies the primary goals of the first draft of the specification as:

  • establish revised Idle State power requirements and expand their scope to additional server types;
  • determine more aggressive power supply efficiency requirements; and
  • gather feedback regarding the approach for Active State power metrics and requirements to be developed for Draft 2.

Given the opportunity for conflicts in the Energy Star specification with the upcoming EU Server efficiency measures (lot 9), the cover letter notes that the “EPA will work in cooperation with the European Commission throughout the revision process”.

EU – Update on Renewal of RoHS Exemptions / EU – Reaction to EU RoHS Exemption Renewal Report

One June 27, 2016, the Commission posted Oeko-Institut’s report on the bulk of the requests for EU RoHS exemption renewals. The report covers renewal requests for 29 RoHS 2 Annex III exemptions including: no. l(a to e -lighting purpose), no. l(f – special purpose), no. 2(a), no. 2(b)(3), no. 2(b)(4), no. 3, no. 4(a), no. 4(b), no. 4(c), no. 4(e), no. 4(f), no. 5(b), no. 6(a), no. 6(b), no. 6(c), no. 7(a), no. 7(c) – I, no. 7(c) – II, no. 7(c) – IV, no. 8(b), no. 9, no. 15, no. 18b, no. 21, no. 24, no. 29, no. 32, no. 34, no. 37.

In general, all of the exemptions with renewal requests have been recommended for renewal in one form or another; however, several of the exemptions have a narrower scope of allowed use than the current exemption or a short timeframe before expiry for certain applications.  The complete report (all 864 pages) is available on the Commission’s website. A summary table of recommendations is available in the Executive Summary at the front of the report.  We’ve also provided below an excerpt, analysis and discussion of the more commonly used exemptions in EEE products.

Note: the dates in the discussion below focus on product categories 1-7, 10, and 11. The exemption period for category 8 (medical devices) and 9 (monitoring and control instruments) is typically recommended for a longer time given the extra two years provided to these products in the RoHS Directive.

Exemption 6 – Lead in Alloys

The consultant’s recommendations for the lead in alloys exemptions mark the beginning of the end – the Commission’s push to begin phasing out these lead in alloy exemptions wherever possible.  The 6a (lead in steel), 6b (lead in aluminium alloys), and 6c (lead in copper alloys) exemptions are recommended for renewal, but generally with a short three-year duration for most product categories.  Some of the exemptions are also recommended for carving into multiple parts, usually with tighter scope and/or reduced concentration levels.

The renewal applications did not provide a lot of information to distinguish which applications still need the exemption and which don’t; therefore the consultant proposes a three-year timeframe for manufacturers and their supply chain to provide better information to justify longer term exemptions for applications that still need them; the consultants, otherwise recommend that the exemptions are allowed to expire after the three years. This “ultimatum” will certainly cause significant concern within the EEE industry and supply base. The consultants acknowledge that machining and other fabrication processes may need to be modified to accommodate non-lead materials.

Exemption 6a (Lead as an alloying element in steel for machining purposes and in galvanized steel containing up to 0.35% lead by weight) was split up based on application. In particular the allowed concentration level for galvanized steel components has been reduced to 0.2% lead. This exemption is known to be misused in many steel parts, regardless of application and the need for using lead. Separating the exemption based on application may put more visibility and accountability to justify the purpose of the lead in steel.

The report’s summary of recommendations for exemptions 6a are shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Recommendations for Exemption 6a

Exemption No.Wording:
Main Entry Sub-Entry
ApplicantRecommendation:
Proposed Exemption Wording Formulation
Proposed Duration
n.6(a)Lead as an alloying element in steel for machining purposes and in galvanised steel containing up to 0,35 % lead by weightDunkermotoren;
The European Steel Association (EUROFER) and European General
Galvanizers Association (EGGA)
Sensata Technologies
I) Lead as an alloying element in steel for machining purposes containing up to 0,35 % lead by weightFor Cat. 1-7 and 10 and 11: 21 July 2019
II) Lead in batch hot dip galvanized steel components containing up to 0.2% lead by weightFor Cat. 1-7 and 10 and 11: 21 July 2021
III) Lead as an alloying element in steel for machining purposes and in galvanized steel containing up to 0,35 % lead by weightFor Cat. 8 and 9: 21 July 2021;
For Sub-Cat. 8 in-vitro: 21 July 2023;
For Sub-Cat. 9 industrial: 21 July 2024

Exemption 6b (Lead as an alloying element in aluminium containing up to 0.4% lead by weight), does not currently limit the applications that may use the exemption. However, going forward, the intention is to provide only a three-year exemption period for lead in aluminum (Al) for machining purposes. The consultants concluded that substitutes are available:

As for lead in Al alloys for machining purposes, it can be followed that substitutes are available on the market for which reliability is claimed by alloy producers. In the consultants opinion EU COM should give a clear sign to industry that this exemption is to expire, that the available substitutes are to be tested and implemented as such. Further exemptions for specific applications shall only be acceptable where there is sufficient evidence that lead cannot be reliably substituted. In this case, the consultants propose a review period of three years.

The consultants also recognized that Al is heavily recycled resulting in unintentionally added lead in generic Al materials – it may take years to progressively reduce the average lead content. Therefore, the exemption for unintentionally added lead in other Al parts (ie. not machined parts) is recommended for a five year duration timeframe.

The report’s summary of recommendations for exemptions 6b are shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Recommendation for Exemption 6(b)

Exemption No.Wording:
Main Entry Sub-Entry
ApplicantRecommendation:
Proposed Exemption Wording Formulation
Proposed Duration
n.6(b)Lead as an alloying element in aluminium containing up to 0,4 % lead by weightAISBL - EAA
Sensata Technologies
Dunkermotoren
Lead as an alloying element in aluminium
I) with a lead content up to 0.4 % by weight, used for the production of parts not machined with shape cutting chipping technologiesFor Cat. 1-7 and 10 and 11: 21 July 2021
II) for machining purposes with a lead content up to 0.4 % by weightFor Cat. 1-11: 21 July 2021
III) Lead as an alloying element in aluminium containing up to 0,4 % lead by weightFor Cat. 8 and 9: 21 July 2021;
For Sub-Cat. 8 in-vitro: 21 July 2023;
For Sub-Cat. 9 industrial: 21 July 2024

Exemption 6(c) (Copper alloy containing up to 4% lead by weight) is recommended for renewal, but only for a three year period for Cat. 1-7 and 10 and 11.  The consultants feel that substitutes are becoming available and that the current broad scope for exempting lead in copper alloys is not justified. They suggest extending the current exemption for an additional three-year period (until 2019) to provide time for manufacturers to determine which applications cannot use substituted materials (non-lead) and to request an exemption renewal for these applications. Other applications would then fall out of the scope of the exemption.  The consultants suggest that:

Based on the above considerations, it can currently not be concluded whether substitution of the use of copper alloys containing lead up to 4% by weight is scientifically or technically practicable. It appears that substitutes can be applied in some cases (lead-free or with lower lead content), however mutual factors that would allow conclusions for specific sub-groups cannot currently be identified. It can also be understood that at least in some cases, available substitutes cannot be applied.

Table 4: Summary of Recommendations for Exemption 6c

Exemption 6c Duration*
Copper alloy containing up to 4% lead by weight For Cat. 1-7 and 10 and 11: 21 July 2019
For Cat. 8 and 9: 21 July 2021
For Sub-Cat. 8 in-vitro: 21 July 2023
For Sub-Cat. 9 industrial: 21 July 2024

Exemptions 7 and 15 – Lead in Various electronic components

Similar to the consultant’s approach to the lead in alloy exemptions, the consultants are recommending carving up the exemptions to refine the applications that do and do not still require the use of lead. The report’s summary of recommendations for exemptions 7a, 7(c)-I/II/IV, and 15 are shown in tables below.

Exemption 7a (lead in high melting temperature type solders),

  • The report recommends a short duration time for die attach and the voice coil in power transducers (expiry in 2019).

Table 5: Recommendations for Exemption 7a

Exemption No.Wording:
Main Entry Sub-Entry
ApplicantRecommendation:
Proposed Exemption Wording Formulation
Proposed Duration
n.7(a)Lead in high melting temperature type solders (i.e. lead-based alloys containing 85 % by weight or more lead)Bourns Inc.
IXYS Semiconductor GmbH
Chenmko Enterprise Co., Ltd
Yeashin Technology Co., Ltd
Freescale Semiconductor
Formosa Microsemi Co., Ltd.
I) Lead in high melting temperature type solders (i.e. lead-based alloys containing 85 % by weight or more lead)For Cat. 8 and 9: 21 July 2021;
For Sub-Cat. 8 in-vitro: 21 July 2023;
For Sub-Cat. 9 industrial: 21 July 2024
Lead in high melting temperature type solders (i.e. lead-based alloys containing 85 % by weight or more lead)
II) in all applications not addressed in items III and IV, but excluding applications in the scope of exemption 24For categories 1 to 7 and 10: 21 July 2021
III) for die attachFor categories 1 to 7 and 10: 21 July 2019
IV) for electrical connections on or near the voice coil in power transducers

Exemption 7(c)-I lead in glass or ceramic,

  • The recommendation narrows the scope of the exemption to lead in glass or in a glass or ceramic matrix compound. Other applications that were previously in scope of the exemption are recommended for a transition period until 2019.

Table 6: Recommendations for Exemption 7c-I

Exemption No.Wording:
Main Entry Sub-Entry
ApplicantRecommendation:
Proposed Exemption Wording Formulation
Proposed Duration
n.7(c)-IElectrical and electronic components containing lead in a glass or ceramic other than dielectric ceramic in capacitors, e.g. piezoelectronic devices, or in a glass or ceramic matrix compoundBourns Inc.
Sensata Technologies
YAGEO Corporation
RALEC TECHNOLOGY (KUNSHAN) CO.
BANDELN electronic GmbH&Co.KG
RALEC TECHNOLOGY (KUNSHAN) CO.
Japan Electronics & Information Technology Industries Association
Murata Elektronik GmbH
EPCOS AG
VISHAY BC
components
BEYSCHLAG GmbH
SCHOTT AG
7(c)-I: Electrical and electronic components containing lead in a ceramic other than dielectric ceramic in discrete capacitor components, e7(c)-I: Electrical and electronic components containing lead in a ceramic other than dielectric ceramic in discrete capacitor components, e.g. piezoelectronic devices.For categories 1-7 and 10: 21 July 2019
7(c)-V: Electrical and electronic components containing lead in a glass or in a glass or ceramic matrix compound.
This exemption does not cover the use of lead in the scope of exemption 34 (cermet-based trimmer potentiometers).
For categories 1-7 and 10: 21 July 2021
7(d): Electrical and electronic components containing lead in a glass or ceramic other than dielectric ceramic in capacitors, e.g. piezoelectronic devices, or in a glass or ceramic matrix compoundFor Cat. 8 and 9: 21 July 2021;
For Sub-Cat. 8 in-vitro: 21 July 2023;
For Sub-Cat. 9 industrial: 21 July 2024

Exemption 7(c)-II (Lead in dielectric ceramic in high voltage capacitors)

  • The consultant is recommending a three-year transition period to phase out this exemption in most product categories. Manufacturers that still need the exemption beyond the three years will need to submit a renewal request for their specific technical application.

Table 7: Recommendations for Exemption 7c-II

Exemption No.Wording:
Main Entry Sub-Entry
ApplicantRecommendation:
Proposed Exemption Wording Formulation
Proposed Duration
n.7(c)-IILead in dielectric ceramic in capacitors for a rated voltage of 125 V AC or 250 V DC or higherMurata Elektronik GmbH
EPCOS AG
VISHAY BC components
BEYSCHLAG GmbH
JEITA(Japan Electronics & Information Technology Industries Association)
Lead in dielectric ceramic in capacitors for a rated voltage of 125 V AC or 250 V DC or higherFor Cat. 8 and 9: 21 July 2021;
For Sub-Cat. 8 in-vitro: 21 July 2023
For Sub-Cat. 9 industrial: 21 July 20;
Lead in dielectric ceramic in discrete capacitor components for a rated voltage of 125 V AC or higher, or for a rated voltage of 250 V DC or higherFor Cat. 1-7 and 10: 21 July 2019

Exemption 7(c)-IV (Lead in PZT based dielectric ceramic materials for capacitors)

  • The consultant is recommending a three-year transition period to phase out this exemption in most product categories. Manufacturers that still need the exemption beyond the three years will need to submit a renewal request for their specific technical application(s).

Table 8: Recommendations for Exemption 7c-IV

Exemption No.Wording:
Main Entry Sub-Entry
ApplicantRecommendation:
Proposed Exemption Wording Formulation
Proposed Duration
n.7(c)-IVLead in PZT-based dielectric ceramic materials for capacitors which are part of integrated circuits or discrete semiconductorsST MicroelectronicsLead in PZT-based dielectric ceramic materials of capacitors being part of integrated circuits or discrete semiconductorsFor Cat. 1-7 and 10: 21 July 2019;
For Cat. 8 and 9: 21 July 2021;
For Sub-Cat. 8 in-vitro: 21 July 2023;
For Sub-Cat. 9 industrial: 21 July 2024

Exemption 15 (Lead for die attach in flip-chip packages)

  • The consultants propose a convoluted partitioning of the exemption based on semiconductor technology.
  • The exemption would phase out by 2019 for larger technology nodes (90nm or larger) and continue until the max. period (until 2021) for large die (300mm2 and greater).

Table 9: Recommendations for Exemption 15

Exemption No.Wording:
Main Entry Sub-Entry
ApplicantRecommendation:
Proposed Exemption Wording Formulation
Proposed Duration
n.15Lead in solders to complete a viable electrical connection between semiconductor die and carrier within integrated circuit flip chip packagesIntel CorporationI) Lead in solders to complete a viable electrical connection between semiconductor die and carrier within integrated circuit flip chip packages
II) Lead in solders to complete a viable electrical connection between semiconductor die and the carrier within integrated circuit flip chip packages where one of the below criteria applies:
a) A semiconductor technology node of 90 nm or largerFor categories 1-7 and 10: 21 July 2019
b) A single die of 300 mm2 or larger in any semiconductor technology nodeFor categories 1-7 and 10: 21 July 2021
c) Stacked die packages with dies of 300 mm² or larger, or silicon interposers of 300 mm2 or largerFor categories 1-7 and 10: 21 July 2021
d) Flip chip on lead frame (FCOL) packages with a rated current of 3 A or higher and dies smaller than 300 mm²The exemption cannot be recommended but is added here in case the Commission would decide that it should be granted

Further to last month’s environmental report, we are starting to see the industry reaction to the Oeko-Institut report on 29 of the Annex III exemption renewal requests.

We noted that for many of the commonly used exemptions, the consultants felt that requester’s did not provide sufficient information to identify between applications that still need the exemption and applications for which alternative technologies are available. For these exemptions, the consultants generally recommended a 3-year duration for the exemption instead of the maximum 5 years, suggesting that this will provide manufacturers enough time to assess alternatives and develop renewal requests for the applications that really need the exemption.

Manufacturers are raising concerns and petitioning the European Commission via their industry associations. Industry associations from Europe, North America and Asia have banded together to write a letter with initial feedback to the Director-General for the Environment at the European Commission highlighting the industry concerns. The letter (which is available from the IPC website) states that the industry associations support the overall RoHS objective, but they express concern about some of the consultant’s recommendations.  The main body of the report identifies two key areas of concern and goes on to provide specific feedback on some of the exemption recommendations.

Key initial areas of concern include:

  • Inclusion of shorter applicability dates;
  • Rewordings and/or splitting of exemptions;

The letter recommends that the Commission renew the exemptions with the existing wording and for the maximum 5 years allowed under the RoHS Directive.

The difference of opinion between industry and the consultant arises from the opposing objectives each has with the exemption renewal process.  Industry would like to maintain picture1status-quo for another 5 years (the maximum time period) and avoid having to re-assess its supply chain; whereas, the consultant (presumably at the request of the European Commission) would like to make progress in eliminating the use of the exemptions by narrowing the scope of applications eligible to use the exemptions. It’s well known that some part suppliers are using the exemptions only because it’s easiest or cheapest to do so even though alternate technologies may be available.  It’s these applications that the regulators would like to eliminate from the exemptions.

IEC – IEC 62474 Declarable Substances List (DSL) Updated

The IEC 62474 Declarable Substances List (DSL) was updated on June 23, 2016 to include the SVHC added to the REACH Candidate List on June 20, 2016. A correction was also made to the entry for “Perfluorononan-1-oic-acid and its sodium and ammonium salts”. Additional information about the SVHC is included in the article above titled “EU – One SVHC added to REACH Candidate List”.

The entry for “Perfluorononan-1-oic-acid and its sodium and ammonium salts” was changed from a substance entry to a substance group entry and the three substances in this group were added as reference substance.

Additional information on the update is provided on the IEC 62474 blog.

The IEC 62474 DSL is freely available for download from the IEC 62474 database.

EU – Political Agreement on Conflict Minerals Regulation

In a press release from the European Commission on June 16, 2016, the Commission announced that it, together with the Council and Parliament, have agreed on a framework for a conflict minerals regulation.  The press release is available on the Europa website.

The agreement is to impose mandatory obligations for due diligence and reporting on the upstream companies that directly import and work with the minerals and metals, such as importers of ore, smelters and refiners. The due diligence requirement is expected to align with the OECD guidance.

As part of the agreement, the Commission is expected to develop voluntary measures and tools for downstream companies to help them source responsibility. There was also a suggestion that some form of public disclosure by downstream companies may be required, but this requirement is very vague in the information provided to date.  The agreement appears to be structured to not initially impose mandatory obligations on product manufacturers but includes a clause to renegotiate such requirements in the future.

As for timeframe, the press release states: “Today’s political understanding sets the Regulation on track for technical work and final adoption in the coming months.”