Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Surat diamantaires may face wrath of US & EU
A few leading diamantiares in Surat may face the wrath of the US and EU for importing $250 million — Rs1,100 crore — worth of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe, which is parked at Dubai`s free trade zone.
After the Kimberley Process (KP) chairman Mathieu Yamba cleared Zimbabwe to resume its rough diamond export last month, the US and EU issued warnings to the diamantaires in India and Dubai that it will publish the names of those taking delivery of the Zimbabwe goods on their government website and that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers all US sanctions procedure, will scrutinise these transactions.
"Dubai`s free trade zone is the destination from where Zimbabwe diamonds are routed into India. Between November 2010 and February 2011, a huge quantity of Zimbabwe diamonds was purchased by Indian buyers despite knowing about the KP`s embargo. Now, these buyers are feeling the heat as US and EU have started investigation into the diamond deals with Zimbabwe," said a senior trade analyst asking anonymity.
Without quoting the names, trade sources said a huge stock of rough diamond is parked in the Dubai`s free trade zone which belongs to few of the Indian buyers who are learnt to have remitted money to Zimbabwe. The US and EU have been investigating the diamond deals with Zimbabwe in the past few months and it would lead to the diamond stock parked in Dubai`s free trade zone.
Zimbabwean diamonds worth US $160 million had been certified by KP Monitor Abbey Chikane in the month of November 2010 just after the KP Plenary in Israel ended without giving any export clearance to Zimbabwe. Chikane was appointed as KP Monitor for Zimbabwe by Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) to look after Joint Work Plan (JWP) agreed by Zimbabwe & KP.
As reported in various news agencies, these diamonds were bought by few Indian buyers and had been stored in Dubai`s free trade zone awaiting KP permission to clear the goods to start journey for Surat, world`s largest manufacturing hub.
The pressure group had demanded the KP to "nullify the certificates` issued by Chikane and notify all diamond trading countries that any shipments would be in violation of Kimberley Process standards.