A supervisory authority to combat the regulatory lacuna in the commodities sector

How the resource curse is connected to the swiss trading hub and the political responsibility that results

Switzerland is the world’s most important commodity trading hub. Swiss trading companies are now becoming increasingly active in oil production, or mining, as well as in the more traditional trading of, for example, crude oil products. Many of the problems in the sector, acknowledged by the Swiss government in its “Background Report: Commodities”, have a direct connection to the resource curse phenomenon: the fact that the populations of commodity-rich developing countries suffer rather than profit from these riches as a result of increasing corruption, growing inequality and conflict. Overcoming or at least reducing the resource curse is a central task for those working in development – as it is for Switzerland.

Public Eye (formerly the Berne Declaration) believes that Switzerland, as the country in which these companies are headquartered, has a political responsibility to push for concrete measures that go beyond the recommendations set out in the government’s “Background Report: Commodities”. Due to the absence of regulation or rather, the lack of effectiveness of the little legislation there is, as well as the recent experiences in the financial sector, the BD proposes the establishment of a “Commodity Market Supervisory Authority” (ROHMA).