Country by country gets legal backing in US

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Great news from the USA. A provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in the Senate yesterday, will require energy and mining companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to report payments to foreign governments for the extraction of oil, gas, and minerals on a country-by-country basis.

Oil, gas, and mining revenues are critically important economic sectors in about 60 developing countries which, despite abundant natural resources, rank among the lowest in the world on poverty, economic growth, and governance assessments. With this information the citizens of these countries will be able to demand accountability for government corruption and ensure that a fair price is paid for their natural resources. As such the new disclosure is a vital weapon in tackling the problems arising for so many countries suffering from the so-called "resource curse."

The new reporting requirements will apply to petro giants such as Exxon Mobile, BP Corporation, Chevron, Conoco Philips, Royal Dutch Shell, and Hess.  Taken together, the oil and gas companies expected to fall under the new regulation accounted for approximately $2.2 trillion in sales and $200 billion in profits last year.

The measure is not full country-by-country reporting. But it is an enormous step forward, is based on the country-by-country reporting idea, and is a massive credit to Publish What You Pay who worked tirelessly for this.

I also happen to think it’s another step towards the inevitability of full country-by-country reporting – and given it’s still only 7 years since I created the concept that’s massive progress.