Switzerland Wants More Gold Trade Transparency
(Kitco News) - The Swiss Federal Council is calling for more transparency when it comes to its future gold imports, citing concerns around environmental and human rights violations.
“Tracing the origin of gold is essential because it alone can avoid importing gold extracted in violation of human rights,” Switzerland's executive body said in a report published on Wednesday. “The report takes stock of the Swiss gold sector, reiterates the initiatives and measures already taken and formulates recommendations to ensure that the gold imported into Switzerland has not been produced in violation of human rights.”
The Federal Council reiterated that gold mining can be connected to human rights violations and environmental damage across the world, noting that it wants to ban the import of gold that is linked to such infringements.
The report stated that “poor treatment of employees and contract workers … threats to the state of law.”
“Switzerland is committed, at the national and international level, to ensure that gold produced in violation of human rights is not imported into Switzerland,” the report said, adding that the national law is already one of the toughest in the world when it comes to importing rules.
Even though Switzerland has already implemented a number of new measures to deal with the issue, more can be done, noted the Federal Council.
“It can't be totally ruled out that gold produced in violation of human rights is imported into Switzerland, even if businesses and producer governments have put in place an array of measures aimed to prevent it from happening,” the report said. “The Federal Council also suggests strengthening multi-stakeholder dialogue and expanding development cooperation in the area of responsible gold production.”
Last year, Switzerland imported around 2,404 tonnes of gold and exported 1,684 tonnes, according to the report.
The Council added that gold refineries need to do more when it comes to sharing detailed background information about the imported gold.
The Swiss Federal Council is the highest executive authority in the country and is made up of seven members, including the country’s president. Each member also heads a government department.