|US jewellers wield Zidera on Zim gems|
|Saturday, 23 June 2012 18:31|
Jewellers in the United States are now invoking the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) to try and shut the door on diamonds from Marange, a move that will cut off access to the world’s biggest jewellery market and ultimately affect the local mainstream economy.
Recent statistics from the Ministry of Finance indicate that diamond dividend remittances to Treasury in the first quarter of the year only amounted to $30 million against a projected target of $122 million.
Though there were spirited attempts by various advocacy groups to broaden the definition of conflict diamonds to include “human rights” issues at a Kimberly Process meeting held in Washington DC this month, African and Asian members of the Working Group on Reform rejected the proposal.
The United States, with a gross domestic product per-capita of more than $48 000, is the world’s biggest market for diamonds at 50 percent followed by Japan at 15 percent and India at 5 percent.
India is the biggest supplier of cut and polished diamonds and diamond jewellery to the US.
“At this time, Jewellers of America has advised members not to trade in diamonds from the Marange region of Zimbabwe. While the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) has agreed to allow the export of diamonds from the Marange region, the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) enforces legal sanctions that prohibit all dealings, both directly and through third parties, with the Zimbabwean entities that own or control the Marange region diamond mines and the diamonds exported by these entities.
“As a result, we have advised Jewellers of America members to exercise the appropriate due diligence with business partners, including taking additional precautionary measures for inventory protection in order to ensure compliance with US law and maintain consumer confidence in diamonds.
System of Warranties statement, that the diamonds they supply have not been obtained in violation of applicable national laws and/or sanctions and have not originated from Marange, Zimbabwe,” explained Mr Thompson.
India is the largest diamond manufacturing hub in the world and there have been previous attempts to frustrate traders from trading in Zimbabwe gems.
The Times of India reported a fortnight ago that heightened sanctions from America “may force diamantaires to look for other markets, which many of them have already started”.
“Many are seeing Dubai and Hong Kong as potential markets for their products,” the paper said.
Said Minister Biti recently: “Stakeholders would recall that of the 2012 $4 billion budget, $600 million of some of the projects under this budget are ring-fenced for funding directly from the realisation of what is due to the State from the proceeds of our diamond sales at the four mining houses in Marange.