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World Federation Of Diamond Bourses

Momentum Building to Change G7 Sanctions Procedures

Dear Friends,

The G7 system of enforcing the sanctions against Russian diamonds is still causing dismay and uncertainty throughout the diamond world. The one-node system, in which all rough must be certified by the Diamond Office in Antwerp, has been in effect since March 1 for all rough diamonds entering the EU, and is supposed to be implemented for all rough entering the G7 countries on September 1, 2024.

Since the WFDB, together with the WDC, GJEPC and IDMA, issued its industry call to action asking the G7 governments to hear our concerns over their Russian diamond sanctions system, we have heard nothing back from them officially, but there are indications that our proposal has been well received.  

However, it seems clear that momentum is building in the diamond world to seek changes in the system, to minimize disruption to the industry.

First, Antwerp companies complained that the Diamond Office was ill-equipped to handle the huge amounts of goods that have begun to flow into it, causing major back-ups and additional costs.

Then, in mid-April Ari Epstein suddenly stepped down as CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre amid speculation that it was caused by differences of opinion within the Antwerp diamond industry. Epstein was a leading proponent of the one-node system. While the AWDC did not give a reason for Epstein’s departure, it issued a statement expressing support for the G7 sanctions but concern over its procedures, especially as they impact non-sanctioned diamonds. It seems clear that the Antwerp diamond industry is not happy over the controversy and the potential damage of the one-node system.

India, the largest diamond manufacturing and trading center, has issued a call for their own diamond screening center to comply with the new G7 sanctions, arguing that the single-entry point in Belgium is increasing costs and putting jobs at risk.

In addition, media reports reveal that three African countries – Angola, Botswana and Namibia – have asked the G7 to reconsider the need for producer countries to send all diamonds to Belgium. Botswana has stated that this provision would pose logistical challenges for producer countries and would harm their efforts to increase local beneficiation.  They are urging the G7 to allow verification to occur within the country of origin.

An additional development is the recent appointment by De Beers of a former senior British diplomat, Emma Wade-Smith, the UK’s consul general in New York until January, to lobby G7 governments to change the sanctions implementation plan. De Beers is arguing that the requirement to send diamonds only to Antwerp will create high costs and threaten the revenues of African producer countries.

I am confident that the drive to alter the G7 Russian diamond sanctions scheme will gain increased momentum as the weeks go on. Hopefully, I will have tangible progress to report soon.

Warm regards,
Yoram Dvash

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