Con­flict di­a­mond group meets in Dubai as UAE chair pledges progress

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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.

SEARCH: Work­ers mine for di­a­monds in Sierra Leone

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