GJEPC Wel­comes King Philippe of Bel­gium

Solitaire - - GJEPC NEWS -

he Gem & Jew­ellery Ex­port Pro­mo­tion Coun­cil (GJEPC) and the An­twerp World Di­a­mond Cen­tre (AWDC) hosted His Majesty King Philippe of Bel­gium at a round-ta­ble dis­cus­sion in Mumbai on Novem­ber 9th. The talks re­volved around the con­tri­bu­tions of the di­a­mond in­dus­try to so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

The round-ta­ble in­cluded high­rank­ing mem­bers of the An­twerp and In­dian di­a­mond com­mu­ni­ties, Bel­gium’s Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and min­is­ter of for­eign af­fairs and Euro­pean af­fairs, Di­dier Reyn­ders, and In­dian min­is­ter of com­merce and in­dus­try, Suresh Prabhu.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Bel­gium were on a state visit to In­dia from Novem­ber 5th to 11th, ac­com­pa­nied by six min­is­ters and a high-pow­ered busi­ness del­e­ga­tion com­pris­ing CEOs of 86 Bel­gian com­pa­nies, 13 chiefs of aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions and 29 mem­bers from the me­dia.

The di­a­mond trade over­whelm­ingly dom­i­nates Indo-Bel­gian com­merce. Trade in gems and jew­ellery con­sti­tutes over 75% of the bi­lat­eral trade and di­a­monds make up more than 80% of Bel­gian ex­ports and more than 40% of Bel­gian im­ports from In­dia.

The An­twerp del­e­ga­tion took the op­por­tu­nity to demon­strate the ways in which the di­a­mond in­dus­try con­trib­utes to so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, fo­cus­ing on the re­spon­si­bil­ity di­a­mond com­pa­nies have to do busi­ness in a sus­tain­able fash­ion.

Stephane Fischler, pres­i­dent of AWDC as well as the World Di­a­mond Coun­cil, said, “In In­dia, more than a mil­lion peo­ple are em­ployed in the di­a­mond in­dus­try. The same eco­nomic im­por­tance ap­plies to An­twerp, where more than 32,000 peo­ple work in or are de­pen­dent on the di­a­mond trade.

“And, it must be said again and again, di­rectly or in­di­rectly, the di­a­mond in­dus­try sup­ports the liveli­hood of more than 10 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide. It is hard to un­der­state the im­por­tance of the di­a­mond trade to many economies and in­di­vid­u­als around the world. But with great im­por­tance comes great re­spon­si­bil­ity, so fail­ure is not an op­tion.”

Fischler spoke about An­twerp’s ef­forts to se­cure a sus­tain­able fu­ture of the trade, high­light­ing the AWDC’s part­ner­ship with the Di­a­mond De­vel­op­ment Ini­tia­tive, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that au­dits and cer­ti­fies al­lu­vial and ar­ti­sanal di­a­mond ar­eas in Africa against hu­man and so­cial rights stan­dards, and CIFAL Flan­ders, a UN train­ing cen­tre sup­port­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goals, with which it set up a “Start to SDG” sup­port pro­gramme for the di­a­mond in­dus­try.

Fischler added, “I am proud of the ef­forts the di­a­mond in­dus­try in gen­eral, and An­twerp in par­tic­u­lar, is tak­ing to foster global so­cio-eco­nomic

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