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Import Bans on ‘Conflict’ Minerals and Timber: Comparing US and EU Efforts to Prevent International Trade in Illegally Exploited Resources

Africa
Conflict
Environmental Policy
European Union
Political Economy
USA
Lena Partzsch
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Lena Partzsch
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Sina Leipold
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
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Abstract

Several governance efforts were recently adopted or are currently under way that aim to prevent actors from selling illegally exploited resources at international markets. For that matter governments turn away from the paradigm of free trade and introduce import bans on ‘conflict’ minerals and timber, especially, to the US and the EU. This norm shift acknowledges that life styles and economic growth in these countries highly depend on natural resource exploitation abroad with negative implications on the environment and societies in exporting countries. The paper carves out the emergence of this new international norm with a focus on the fields of minerals (US Dodd-Frank Act and European Commission proposal on ‘conflict’ minerals) and timber (US Lacey Act and EU Timber Regulation). How did this new norm emerge? Why were these governance efforts made? How shall import bans hinder actors from trading illegally exploited products? What are expected (side-) effects?