Oct 12, 2023
On the occasion of a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this Wednesday, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo announced that the European Union is in the advanced stages of implementing a ban on Russian diamonds within the EU market.
This move comes after a year-long investigation conducted by both the EU and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) aimed at establishing a reliable traceability system for diamonds originating from Russian territory. According to the Belgian leader, who is at the forefront of this issue, this investigation is nearing completion. It is noteworthy that approximately 90% of the world’s diamonds are believed to pass through the port of Antwerp at some point.
In Belgium, concerns have arisen regarding the potential ban on Russian diamonds. Some in the diamond industry fear that this decision could redirect the flow of gemstones from Antwerp to Dubai, which has emerged as a player in this market. However, for Europe, the primary focus is to prevent Moscow from financing the invasion of Ukraine through its exports to Europe.
“The most effective way to achieve this is to establish a comprehensive traceability system to exclude Russian diamonds from all markets,” as assessed by Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, during an unexpected visit by Volodymyr Zelensky to NATO’s Brussels headquarters. “We are collaborating with the EU and the G7, and we are on the verge of finalizing this comprehensive traceability system.”
The Belgian leader went even further, suggesting that the ban could come into effect as early as January 1, 2024. Until now, diamonds had avoided being subject to bans on Russian imports, which targeted other strategic commodities such as gold, caviar, vodka, and, most significantly, oil and coal.
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