(Rapaport…November 28, 2001) Participants at the plenary meeting of the Kimberley Process — which got underway on November 26 in Garborone, Botswana — are expected to address the Bush administration’s concern that a conflict diamond agreement could violate World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. The administration suggests that an agreement could create a situation in which parties not affiliated with the process could launch dispute proceedings in the WTO with claims that the Kimberley Process discriminated against their products in a way that violates the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs.
The administration’s concern over WTO violations has made it apprehensive about supporting the Clean Diamonds Trade Act pending in the U.S. congress. However, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a compromise bill on November 28 aimed at placating this and other Bush administration concerns. A companion bill is now before the Senate, and some legislators say a final bill could be on the president’s desk before the end of the year.
Participants at the Botswana Kimberley Process meeting include representatives from African nations, the European Union, nongovernmental organizations and the World Diamond Council.