U.S. Outlines Kimberley Plan For DDC

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(Rapaport…October 2, 2002) The United States special negotiator for conflict diamonds, Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel, detailed American plans for implementing the Kimberley Process today in a meeting with industry leaders at the Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) in New York.

The industry will be responsible for certifying rough diamonds as conflict-free. Any importer who does so falsely will be charged with a violation of his Customs declaration, Bindenagel said. Companies will have to file a tracking number with the U.S. government for each diamond shipment, but will not have to produce their Kimberley certifications unless investigated.

The change will take effect through the use of federal emergency powers, without any new law being passed by Congress. Diamonds coming from any nation not a party to the Kimberley Process will be banned from the U.S.

“We will be prepared on November 5 to endorse the Kimberley Process in Interlaken and announce that the U.S. is ready to implement it on January 1, 2003,” Bindenagel said, referring to the next meeting of dozens of nations committed to diamond certification. “We have made the decision to proceed. We have outlined our system. Our goal here is not to disrupt the industry. We have one goal here that is overriding — and that is stopping rebels from being financed by conflict diamonds.”

Top DDC officers welcomed the news that the U.S. is ready to implement Kimberley —and leave much of the details to the diamond industry.

“Rather than having the U.S. government on top of us, they’re giving it to us to control, and we better deliver,” World Diamond Council (WDC) Chairman Eli Izhakoff said. “So I think this is very, very good news for all of us.”

The government will send notices to all its embassies about the new rules, Bindenagel said. Bindenagel will meet with the DDC again later this month and hopes to have representatives of federal agencies such as Customs there too.

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