During the recent visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo made a significant announcement. He revealed that the European Union is in the advanced stages of implementing a ban on Russian diamonds within the EU market.
This pivotal decision follows a meticulous year-long investigation conducted jointly by the EU and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The objective of this investigation was to establish a robust traceability system for diamonds originating from Russian territory. The investigation, led by the Belgian Prime Minister, is nearing its conclusion. It’s worth noting that approximately 90% of the world’s diamonds pass through the port of Antwerp at some stage.
In Belgium, concerns have surfaced regarding the potential ban on Russian diamonds. Some members of the diamond industry are apprehensive that this decision may lead to a redirection of the gemstone flow from Antwerp to Dubai, which has emerged as a major player in the global diamond market. However, for Europe, the primary goal is to prevent Moscow from financing the invasion of Ukraine through its diamond exports to Europe.
Prime Minister Alexander de Croo stated, «The most effective way to achieve this is by establishing a comprehensive traceability system to exclude Russian diamonds from all markets.» He further mentioned that they are working closely with the EU and the G7 and are on the verge of finalizing this comprehensive traceability system.
Additionally, de Croo suggested that the ban could potentially take effect as early as January 1, 2024. Up until now, diamonds had managed to evade the scope of bans on Russian imports, which primarily targeted other strategic commodities like gold, caviar, vodka, and, most significantly, oil and coal.