USA: Multiple Actions Required to Enhance Clean Diamond Trade Act

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The import of conflict diamonds remains a top concern for several branches of the United States government directly involved in monitoring the diamond trade, according to the latest report from the Governmental Accountability Office.

The report dated September 27 concluded that the nation lacks necessary inspections on diamond imports, and that the nation is vulnerable to the illicit trade of rough diamonds. Furthermore, the report noted that the process of collecting diamond import and export figures requires improvements.

In 2003, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) came into play in order to curtail the trade of rough diamonds, which had fueled conflicts across Africa. The United States also adopted the Clean Diamond Trade Act (CDTA) to provide the statutory framework for implementation of the KPCS. However, the Government Accountability Office concluded that “work remains to be done.”

Also, the United States does not periodically inspect rough diamond imports or exports to ensure that the contents of the rough diamond parcels match the Kimberley Process certificates, the report found.

Domestically, the Departments of State, the Treasury, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Commerce, and the private entity called the United States Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA,) have been responsible for controlling  imports and exports of rough diamonds.

The United States has not had a plan for monitoring USKPA, but is developing and testing one.

Internationally, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID,) and the United States Geological Survey have helped to strengthen KPCS.

The Government Accountability Office found that the United States lacks an effective system for confirming receipt of imports, which is a Kimberley Process requirement to avoid possible diversions of rough diamond imports.

On recommendations, the General Accountability Office called for improvements in the accuracy of rough diamond trade data (into and out of the United States,) improvements to the processes for importing and exporting rough diamonds, including conducting periodic physical inspections and confirmation of rough diamond import receipts with foreign exporting authorities; and it called for oversight of the activities of USKPA and its licensees who issue Kimberley Process certificates.

All departments involved in the process were provided draft copies of the report, and the authors said each department agreed with the  recommendations.

View the full 68-page report in PDF.


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