The Cardin-Lugar amendment required oil, gas, and mining companies to publicly disclose all payments made to the governments of foreign countries where they operate. Subject to disclosure are taxes, royalties, licensing fees, and a wide range of other project-level payments.
The push to repeal seems to reflect the Republican Party’s shift away from expansive foreign-policy idealism and toward a business-first approach. And it highlights the United States’ retreat from the forefront of international transparency efforts, amid extractive-industry legal challenges that delayed the amendment’s finalization until 2015.
If the rule survives congressional votes this week, its mandates for disclosures will go into effect in late 2018 or early 2019.
“It was a pioneering measure in this bigger movement to promote transparency in extractive industries, and it inspired the EU and Canada to take up similar initiatives,” says Michael Ross, a University of California-Los Angeles political scientist who studies resource-rich countries.
“While the world has moved on,” with “a lot of progress on this,” he tells the Monitor, the oil, gas and mining industries and their GOP allies “apparently feel that now is the opportunity to roll back this measure.”