Press Release: A high-level delegation of leaders of the diamond industry headed by Eli Izhakoff, chairman of the World Diamond Council (WDC), just returned from Panama, where they met with President Ricardo Martinelli of the Republic of Panama. The delegation urged President Martinelli to eliminate any trade barriers that impede Panama’s import and export of diamonds and to have that country immediately adopt the legislation necessary to join the Kimberley Process (KP).
New York Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) president Moshe Mosbacher said that he supported expanding trade opportunities between the Panama diamond industry and members of the DDC. According to Mosbacher, “The New York industry is ready to work bilaterally with Panama to improve the relationship between the New York and Panamanian industries.” He informed President Martinelli that enacting the necessary legislation would represent a valuable contribution to the growth of the diamond trade between New York and Panama.
Eli Avidar, managing director of the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI), indicated that Panama could become another Hong Kong in terms of its impact on the diamond and jewelry trade with other countries, particularly those in South America.
Dr. Martin Hochbaum, managing director of the DDC and chairman of the United States Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA), informed President Martinelli of the role the U.S. private sector plays in implementing the KP. He added, “We would be pleased to make available to Panama our experience and expertise to help Panama expeditiously meet the Kimberley Process requirements.”
Panama Diamond Exchange (PDE) president Erez Akerman expressed gratitude to President Martinelli for his support of the industry and for the leader’s offer of cooperation to ensure its growth. Izhakoff presented President Martinelli with a Silver Bowl to commemorate the meeting. He expressed confidence that Panama would quickly move ahead to enact all legislation required to join the KP.
Following the presentations by the diamond industry officials, President Martinelli told the visiting delegation, “Let’s go forward.” He said he would instruct his government to promptly initiate whatever legislation is necessary to have Panama immediately eliminate trade barriers for the diamond industry and meet all the conditions necessary to join the KP.
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