Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Trafigura Group Pte, the world’s second-largest oil trader, withdrew its membership from the Swiss Trading and Shipping Association after disagreeing with the industry lobby group over efforts to improve transparency in the commodity trading sector.

Trafigura concluded it will be “better positioned to pursue the initiatives promoting transparency and responsible business practices to which we are committed outside the structures of the STSA,” the Singapore-based firm, which has major trading operations in Geneva, said in an e-mailed statement.

Trafigura broke ranks with its peers in 2014 by pledging to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and disclose some of the oil-related payments it makes to governments. The STSA, which represents about 170 companies involved in Switzerland’s $21 billion-a-year commodity-trading sector, has opposed proposals that would require the same level of disclosure as the EITI.

The withdrawal from the STSA, whose members include trading houses with operations in Switzerland such as Vitol Group, the largest independent oil trader, Cargill Inc. and Mercuria Energy Trading Group, was first reported by Swiss newspaper Le Temps. Stephane Graber, secretary general of the lobby, told Le Temps the association “regrets the departure of Trafigura after 10 years of close cooperation,” and that Trafigura “will always be welcome in the STSA as the association works to represent the industry in all its diversity.”

Graber did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment from Bloomberg News.

The STSA was formed in 2014 in a merger of three regional associations representing the commodity trading in Switzerland. Glencore Plc, the Baar, Switzerland-based trader and mining company, is not a member of the STSA. Glencore is an EITI member but does not disclose payments to governments related to its trading operations.

Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Hoffman in Geneva at ahoffman31@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Herron at jherron9@bloomberg.net, Alex Devine

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