Industry Representatives Urge Congress to Pass Conflict Diamond Bill

October 11, 2001

Industry Representatives Urge Congress to Pass Conflict Diamond Bill

Two industry representatives told a congressional committee Wednesday the passage of The Clean Diamonds Trade Act is essential to the creation of an international system to eliminate the trade of conflict diamonds.

Matthew Runci, president and CEO of Jewelers of America and executive director of the World Diamond Council, and Cecilia Gardner, executive director of the Jeweler's Vigilance Committee and general council to WDC, spoke before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Trade. They urged Congress to pass H.R. 2722 and its Senate companion S. 1084, which would bar the importing of diamonds and diamond jewelry from countries lacking adequate controls on the movement of diamonds. The legislation would also provide stimulus for an international agreement on conflict diamonds.

"Both moral and business imperatives underpin our position," Runci told the subcommittee. "Halting this insidious traffic also serves the U.S. foreign policy goal of encouraging stability and economic progress in developing African nations." He also told the subcommittee The Clean Diamonds Trade Act has the full support of a coalition of human rights organizations and all segments of the diamond and jewelry industry.

Gardner gave the subcommittee a briefing on the international efforts to end the conflict diamond trade. "Interested parties for months debated the details of the legislation and now we have found common ground in the form of the Clean Diamonds Trade Act," she said. "It encompasses the best features of earlier bills. It is enforceable. It provides the executive branch with sufficient flexibility ... It is what American importers and retailers need to protect their reputations and their products' standing in the marketplace."

- by Julia M. Duncan

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