Washington, D.C. (July 20, 2016) – The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), AFL-CIO, and six other civil society organizations sent a letter to Secretary John Kerry of the U.S. Department of State (DOS) today to express our disappointment with DOS's recent decision to raise the reporting threshold of the “Reporting Requirements on Responsible Investment in Burma” from $500,000 to $5,000,000.
In June, DOS finalized its decision to raise the reporting threshold, exempting all business investments under five million dollars from reporting. DOS highlighted that comments from two business organizations suggested the Reporting Requirements might deter U.S. investment, and that the increase of the reporting threshold was therefore granted to minimize the burden on small and medium-sized entities.
However, in doing so, DOS provided no adequate response to the many concerns raised by civil society organizations regarding the risk of business involvement in human rights abuses and the need to improve the reporting framework. There is similarly no explanation as to how the proposed reporting threshold was determined, or analysis on the impact of such a decision and how the new threshold would properly address the concerns raised by stakeholder groups.
As such, the organizations urge DOS to issue a public statement explaining the reasons and supporting evidence to justify the need to increase the reporting threshold.
The letter can be viewed here.
For additional information please contact Sophia Lin, ICAR’s Legal and Policy Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org.