(Rapaport… August 20, 2003) The U.S. State Department is trying to clear up confusion surrounding its list of “clean diamond” countries published on August 13 in accordance with the Clean Diamond Trade Act. President George W. Bush signed the Act into law on July 29. The U.S. list differs from the Kimberley Process (KP) list published on the July 31, however, until it is synchronized with the KP list, it is U.S. legislation.
The U.S. State Department listed 58 countries eligible for trade in rough diamonds with the U.S. Some of those countries were not on the KP list – such as Brazil and Vietnam. Diamantaires are not sure whether they could import goods from those countries or not. According to Jay Bruns, U.S. State Negotiator on Conflict Diamonds, the reason for the U.S. list not matching the KP list is technical. The legislative procedure involved in compiling the U.S. list was based on the original KP list published on June 11. By the time the U.S. list was published, the new KP list was already out, hence the irregularities.
“The Kimberley Process chairman has asked all countries to harmonize their lists by August 31 and has indicated that we should not interrupt trade with countries until that date. The U.S., like others, is currently dealing with internal procedures in order to match our list to the July 31 KP one,” explains Bruns. “In the mean time our list is operative and is U.S. legislation.” He adds that even the European Union is operating on the basis of the June 11 list.
“The list itself is a living document. I foresee that it will change with fair regularity as countries decide to be diamond traders or discover diamonds and meet the KP minimum requirements. It is an inclusive, dynamic process and open to any country that wants to participate. I am very excited to have the KP up and running and hope to see some results,” adds Bruns.