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18 Dec, 2023 16:24

EU sets date for Russian diamond ban

The restrictions will start applying on January 1, 2024, according to a press release
EU sets date for Russian diamond ban

The EU will impose a ban on the direct or indirect import, purchase, or transfer of diamonds from Russia from January 1 onwards, the European Council (EC) has announced. The measure is part of the bloc’s twelfth package of economic sanctions against Moscow.

According to the Monday press release, the prohibition applies to diamonds originating in Russia, diamonds exported from Russia, diamonds transiting Russia and Russian diamonds when processed in third countries.

The EC said that a direct ban applies to non-industrial natural and synthetic diamonds, as well as diamond jewelry. “Furthermore, an indirect import ban of Russian diamonds when processed (i.e. cut and/or polished) in third countries, including jewelry incorporating diamonds originating in Russia, will be phased in progressively as of 1 March 2024 and be completed by 1 September 2024,” it declared.

According to the release, the phasing-in of indirect import bans was justified by the need “to deploy a traceability mechanism that enables effective enforcement measures and minimizes disruptions for the EU market.”

The ban on Russian diamonds is part of a G7 effort to develop an “internationally coordinated diamond ban that aims at depriving Russia of this important revenue source,” the EC concluded.

Belgium had previously stalled the efforts of Western allies to bar Russian diamonds, warning that Antwerp – through which 90% of the world’s precious stones pass – would risk losing business to Dubai if the embargo was passed.

However, the nation has now come up with its own diamond ban. Under the Belgian proposal, the G7 could introduce a diamond tracking system that is similar to the SWIFT international messaging system between banks. The mechanism would subsequently prevent diamonds that originated in Russia from entering global markets.

Meanwhile, Russia has been redirecting its diamond trade to alternative markets, including China, India, the UAE, Armenia, and Belarus.

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