* Britain accused of hypocrisy for not signing up
* Body agrees tougher disclosure measures in Sydney
By Emma Farge and William James
GENEVA/LONDON, May 22 The UK and French
governments will join a global initiative that will require oil
and mining firms to comply with new disclosure measures aimed at
tackling corruption, British Prime Minister David Cameron said
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has
stakeholders in the public and private sectors and requires
resource companies to disclose payments made to governments.
EITI terms are not legally binding, but member countries
that fall short of requirements can be suspended from the
process, leading to political embarrassment.
Cameron confirmed a Reuters report about the countries'
intention to join the initiative in a press conference alongside
French President Francois Hollande in Paris.
Britain, currently chairing the Group of Eight major
economies and home to resource firms such as Rio Tinto
and BP, has said that transparency will be one of the
focus areas for the G8 summit in June.
Critics have accused oil producer Britain of hypocrisy for
not joining the EITI initiative, currently chaired by former UK
MP Clare Short, especially as the Labour government helped to
create it in 2002.
"They are joining for practice-what-you-preach reasons. It's
hard to tell countries to do EITI when you're not doing it
yourself," one of the sources said.
Global pressure to increase transparency in mining and
resources has been growing, and the United States has already
passed regulations that require U.S.-registered companies to
disclose payments made to governments for access to resources.
The American Petroleum Institute opposed the U.S. measures
and has challenged the regulations in the U.S. appeals court.
The EITI, supported by the World Bank as well as
resource-rich countries such as oil producer Nigeria, agreed to
a new global transparency standard at a meeting in Sydney on
This aims to strengthen reporting standards by breaking down
data by payment type -- including tax contributions -- project
The new measures will also require participants to give data
on commodity sales, broken down by "individual company,
government entity, and revenue stream" for the first time, the
new requirements showed on Wednesday.
"This decision is the first step to fill a large gap in
international rules governing transparency in the commodities
sector," said Swiss NGO the Berne Declaration.
Others said that the measures did not go far enough as they
fell short of requiring members to publish a breakdown of the
price for each commodity shipment.
Members have yet to agree on the phase-in time for
implementing the new measures.