Antwerp’s role in the G7 debate: diamond industry awaits verdict
As the G7 approaches the idea of imposing sanctions on Russian diamonds, the diamond industry has expressed its indignation. The proposal of sanctions has sparked strong reactions, particularly from industry giants like De Beers. Russia, with Moscow at its core, has seen its diamond exports escape EU sanctions so far. The main reason? Belgium feared that its diamond trading hub, Antwerp, could lose business to Dubai. It is important to emphasize that about 90% of the world’s diamonds pass through Antwerp, and Russia earned about $4 billion from raw diamond exports alone last year.
G7 nations are now moving towards adopting a traceability system for diamonds. This system could pave the way for the interception of Russian jewels by the world’s wealthiest economies starting next year. The news of the G7 proposal circulated after the Belgian government informed journalists, fueling speculation that the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) was working on a proposal.
Diamond industry and G7
However, the proposal has raised concerns among 16 major international diamond producers and traders. They have accused the Antwerp diamond lobby of lacking “transparency, accountability, and inclusivity,” as reported in a letter seen by the Financial Times.
AWDC responded by stating that they provided “technical advice” to the Belgian government. They emphasized that the final proposal was presented to G7 countries and the European Commission after extensive “government consultations” during the summer.
A senior Belgian government official clarified, “What we have presented is a governmental proposal with contributions from the Belgian diamond industry and other governments, including other G7 members. It is not an industry initiative. It is a governmental initiative.”
In addition to the AWDC proposal, there are other proposals for a G7 mechanism to trace the origin of diamonds. One of these comes from the World Diamond Council, a global industry group. However, it remains uncertain what role Antwerp will play if sanctions are introduced.
According to a version of the AWDC proposal to the Belgian government, Antwerp would function as a
The issue of sanctions on Russian diamonds has highlighted the complexities and tensions within the diamond industry. As the G7 approaches a decision, the gem industry awaits anxiously, hoping for a solution that balances political concerns with commercial needs. The decisions made in the coming months will not only impact the trade routes and market dynamics but will also set the tone for international collaborations in other sectors. As industry leaders and policymakers weigh their options, the broader implications of their choices will undoubtedly resonate beyond the sparkling world of gems, potentially altering the course of global commerce and diplomacy.