KP Clarifies Reports on Semi-Cut Diamonds

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RAPAPORT… Press Release: In response to recent reports in the media on how the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) could be circumvented by cutting and polishing a single facet to rough diamonds, the Kimberley Process (KP) would like to emphasize that these remarks are substantively incorrect.

It is incorrect that semi-cut diamonds fall outside the scope of the KPCS.

Indeed, the aforementioned reports refer to a situation that existed until 2004. However, since that date, in order to close possible loopholes, such as the one alluded to in the reports, the definition of rough diamonds has been modified by the World Customs Organization (WCO) at the suggestion of the Kimberley Process. Semi-cut diamonds are classified in tariff provisions of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS-System), which fall squarely within the scope of the KPCS’s definition of “rough diamonds” and consequently, semi-cut diamonds remain subject to the requirements of the KPCS.

Polishing a single or a few small facets will not transform rough diamonds into polished diamonds and make these “fall off the KPCS’ radar,” as was reported in the media. Rather, semi-cut diamonds are regarded as rough diamonds and their import or export remains subject to the requirements of the KPCS.

In case of uncertainty, information on what constitutes a rough diamond is included in the Explanatory Notes to the HS-Coding System (Heading 7102) and is available at the WCO or at your local customs agency, the local KP Authority or the KP Working Group of Diamond Experts.

For further information, contact the KPCS Secretariat — Namibia at  


The Kimberley Process (KP) started when Southern African diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa in May 2000 to discuss ways to stop the trade in “conflict diamonds” and ensure that diamond purchases were not funding violence.

In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a landmark resolution supporting the creation of an international certificate scheme for rough diamonds. By November 2002, negotiations between governments, the international diamond industry and civil society organizations resulted in the creation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). The KPCS document sets out the requirements for controlling rough diamond production and trade. The KPCS entered into force in 2003, when participating countries started to implement its rules.

The KPCS now has 49 participants from 75 countries, with the European Community (EC) counting as a single participant, including all major diamond-producing, trading and polishing centers, and counts on the active participation of civil society and industry groups.

The KPCS imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as “conflict-free” and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade. Under the terms of the KPCS, participating states must meet “minimum requirements” and most put in place national legislation and institutions; export, import and internal controls; and also commit to transparency and the exchange of statistical data. Participants can only legally trade with other participants who have also met the minimum requirements of the scheme and international shipments of rough diamonds must be accompanied by a KP certificate guaranteeing that they are conflict-free.

Participating KP countries and industry and civil society observers gather twice a year at the intercessional and plenary meetings, as well as in working groups and committees that meet on a regular basis. Implementation is monitored through “review visits” and annual reports, as well as through the regular exchange and analysis of statistical data.

Bernhard Esau, MP
KP Chair

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