| WASHINGTON/OSLO, March 22
WASHINGTON/OSLO, March 22 The United States
remains committed to the "principles and goals" of the global
transparency initiative to fight corruption in managing revenues
from oil, gas and mineral extraction, it said on Wednesday.
There were doubts about U.S. participation in the Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) after Congress killed
the "resource extraction rule" that required companies such as
Exxon Mobil to disclose taxes and other fees paid to
foreign governments, such as Russia.
The EITI, which was founded in 2003, and which the U.S.
joined in 2014, sets a global standard for governments to
disclose their revenues from oil, gas, and mining assets, and
for companies to report payments made to obtain access to
publicly owned resources, as well as other donations.
"The (U.S. Interior) Department remains committed to the
principles and goals of EITI including transparency and good
governance of the extractive sectors...," Heather Swift, a
spokesperson for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, said in an email
Industry sources familiar with EITI implementation said the
United States was already pulling out in all but name, but could
formally remain a member until its progress assessment scheduled
to start in April 2018.
Azerbaijan left the group in March after the EITI board,
chaired by Sweden's former prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt,
suspended its membership over concerns about limits on civic
The EITI initiative was primarily aimed at developing
nations and most of its members are in Africa. But Britain,
Germany and Norway also joined, while France and Australia have
also expressed interest.
Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and former Republican Senator
Richard Lugar, authors of legislation encouraging U.S.
participation in EITI, said withdrawal would harm national
"Such a retreat is a retreat from our values, which give
America its strength and its moral leadership in the world,"
they said in a joint statement.
Jonas Moberg, head of EITI's secretariat in Oslo, said the
United States continued to be the part of the global initiative,
but if it decided to leave, it wouldn't be the end of the
initiative, now being implemented in 51 countries.
"Should the administration of President Trump decide to
bring an end to EITI implementation, we are not concerned that
it would be a decision followed elsewhere," he added in an email
The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), which
represents 23 leading mining companies, has said companies that
work in EITI member countries will still have to abide by strict
disclosure rules, despite the recent U.S. legal changes.
(Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis in London and Alissa de
Carbonnel in Brussels; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)