Conflict diamond group meets in Dubai as UAE chair pledges progress
Developing African nations that produce diamonds need to get a fair deal from the industry, Dubai’s commodities trading chief has said.
Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodity Centre (DMCC), was speaking at the Kimberley Process (KP) in Dubai, of which he is chair this year.
The summit sees diamond industry traders and decision-makers meeting to discuss how to regulate the global trade and stem the flood of ‘blood diamonds’ - those mined in war zones and fuel conflict.
During the meeting at Atlantis yesterday, members of KP highlighted the importance of valuing diamonds at a decent price for producing countries.
There has been criticism of the way the global trade operates, particularly underpricing practices, where a diamond is sold below its market value. This means the government of the country receives less tax revenue from the sale.
“Rough diamond valuation is a challenge that is not limited to one country, one diamond centre or the Kimberley Process - it is a critical challenge for the entire diamond industry,” bin Sulayem said. “In particular, it is a top priority By Shoshana Kedem for the diamond exporting countries in Africa, which are looking to get the best value from their mineral resource wealth.
“As KP chair, it is my goal that our work will lead to a concrete action plan towards a set of best valuation practices and ultimately a level playing field for all importers and exporters of rough diamonds.”
For the first time in 15 years, the KP Civil Society Coalition, one of the three parties in the process, along with the traders and manufacturers, is boycotting the talks. They accuse firms in the UAE and some other countries of underpricing.
But Edward Asscher, President of the World Diamond Council, said: “The problem is not with the UAE but with the exporting countries. If you export at a low price and then reexport here, and the profit is tax-free should you blame the UAE or the exporting countries?”
The conference, which delegates from 84 countries are attending, continues today and tomorrow at Atlantis.
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