Belgium, which has the biggest interests in the world’s diamond trade in the European Union, supports a ban on Russian diamonds as part of sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s government over the war in Ukraine, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croix said.
Belgium, which has the largest interests in the world’s diamond trade in the European Union, supports a ban on Russian diamonds as part of sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s government over the war in Ukraine, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croix said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi, who visited Brussels today, has repeatedly asked to ban the import of Russian diamonds. The West has already imposed extensive financial and trade sanctions on Russia, but the diamond import ban has not yet been implemented.
The G7 countries and the European Union (EU) have been working for several months on a solution to track and limit Russian diamond trade to prevent sanctions evasion. According to various estimates, Russia exports roughly four billion US dollars worth of rough diamonds annually, which is almost a third of the world’s total.
Asked when the ban will come into force, the Belgian Prime Minister said that the target is January 1, 2024.
According to the Antwerp World Diamond Center, the world’s most important diamond trading center, 84% of all rough diamonds mined in the world are traded in Antwerp, making this Belgian city the most important point for Russian diamond exports.
“It took some time because we want to avoid circumventing the diamond ban,” de Croix said, sitting next to Zelensky.
“Full traceability and a total ban on the retail markets is the only way to ensure that Russia no longer finances the war with these diamonds,” said de Cro, explaining that a wholesale ban alone would not be effective.
In Belgium, 6,600 people work in the diamond industry and another 26,000 work in jobs indirectly related to the diamond industry. The annual volume of diamond trade reaches 37 billion dollars. Diamonds account for approximately 5% of total Belgian exports to the EU and 15% of exports to non-EU countries.