Sunday, April 17, 2011

India, China play key role at KP meet

The stalemate over rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe is likely to end soon with India and China being successful in brokering a solution with the United States and European Union at the Kimberley Process's Working Group of Monitoring (WGM) meeting held in Dubai on April 14. India and China are member countries of international diamond regulatory body KP Certification Scheme (KPCS).

Top sources in the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and the ministry of commerce, who attended the WGM meeting, said a consensual draft of the Joint Work Plan (JWP) has been prepared by the member countries and it was submitted to the KP chair Mathieu Yamba of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The KP Chair is supposed to send the consensual draft to the Government of Zimbabwe for acceptance in order to resume the exports of diamonds from the Marange diamond field. Zimbabwe's diamonds have been at the centre of controversy for three years now with African partners accusing their Western counterparts of applying unorthodox means to keep out other players from the lucrative diamond trading business.

Surat, the world's largest diamond cutting and polishing centre of the world which imports rough diamonds worth Rs 45,000 crore per annum, is eagerly waiting for the Zimbabwe issue to get resolved. Reason: The Marange diamond field has a capacity of producing more than one million carats of rough stones and this could take care of the demand-supply gap prevailing in the global market.

Last month, KP chairperson Mathieu Yamba gave Zimbabwe the green light to export its rough gems from Chiadzwa diamond fields. However, the decision immediately sparked a debate.

A warning was issued by the US and EU to the diamond companies in India and UAE to not buy the rough stones from Zimbabwe. The US and EU stated that the names of those importing rough from Zimbabwe will be flashed on the government websites and that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers all US sanctions procedures, will scrutinise these transactions.

"India and China have played a key role in brokering a solution for Zimbabwe. If the Zimbabwe government accepts the consensual draft agreed by the KP member nations, including US and EU, then it could resume the rough diamond exports," a senior official from GJEPC said.

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