Congress to Consider Kimberley Again

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(Rapaport…January 3, 2003) The Kimberley Process is headed back to the United States Congress, where a bill to implement it died last year after the House passed it and the Senate failed to act.

The U.S. State Department had been saying Kimberley could be implemented through presidential order, without the need for any new law. But the administration recently dropped that assertion, and said that it would “work expeditiously with Congress to pass legislation as soon as possible.”

“There is legislation that will be working its way through Congress very quickly,” said Cecilia Gardner, executive director of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee. “Meanwhile the industry is going ahead, and starting to use, where appropriate, Kimberley certificates and the System of Warranties on invoices. That’s already happening.”

In the House of Representatives, Kimberley legislation will be introduced in the Ways and Means Committee. “The administration has successfully negotiated a global framework to secure the legitimate trade of rough diamonds,” said Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, Republican of California. “Rough diamonds have been used to create instability in Africa and around the world. It is a serious problem in urgent need of a solution, and I am certain that this can be achieved through the Kimberley Process.”

A companion bill will be introduced in the Senate Finance Committee “early in the Congress,” said Everett Eissenstadt, the Senate panel’s chief trade counsel.

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