Trump signs CR rescinding SEC foreign payment disclosure requirement

US President Donald J. Trump signed the congressional resolution (CR) to rescind the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s requirement that publicly traded US oil and gas and other extractive industry companies disclose payments made to foreign governments.

US President Donald J. Trump signed the congressional resolution (CR) to rescind the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s requirement that publicly traded US oil and gas and other extractive industry companies disclose payments made to foreign governments.

“This is a big signing, a very important signing. It’s a big deal,” the president said during a Feb. 14 ceremony in the Oval Office. “We have many more left.”

Trump’s action came 11 days after US Senate passage of the resolution under the Congressional Review Act after Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) introduced it on Jan. 30 and the House approved it on Feb. 1.

“I very pleased to be the author of H.J. Res 41,” Huizenga said at the White House as the resolution was about to become law. “Over 20 years, there have been 56,000 rules that have been put in place with very little legislative input or oversight, and it’s time that changed. I think this is a good first step.”

American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard welcomed the president’s action. “The president’s signature is a welcome step forward for American competitiveness and jobs,” he said. “The oil and gas industry strongly supports transparency and has pursued this effort for over a decade through the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a globally accepted framework.”

API offered a model for an SEC rule that would achieve disclosure requirements without putting US publicly listed energy producers at a disadvantage to foreign competitors who are not subject to any disclosure, Gerard said.

Groups that supported SEC’s imposition of Section 1504 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act condemned Trump’s action. “This rule was mandated by Congress, a mandate that remains in force in spite of this senseless bill,” Isabel Munilla, Oxfam America’s Senior Policy Advisor for Extractive Industries, said on Feb. 14.

“It is now up to the [SEC] to make good on the directive it was given by Congress to ensure US-listed oil and mining companies disclose the information investors and the public needs to safeguard the trillions of dollars in payments that should be going to the US government and governments around the world,” she said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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