July 29, 2003
Kimberley Will Have Force of Law in U.S.
Though portions of its rules have been used on a voluntary basis since the beginning of the year in the U.S., the Kimberley Process will finally have federal law behind it. President George W. Bush is expected to sign the Congressional legislation within the next few days.
The World Diamond Council says U.S. regulations are expected to be in place by the end of July, complying with deadlines set at the April meeting of Kimberley Process participants. The U.S. regulations include penalties for noncompliance.
"We welcome full implementation of the Kimberley Process system in the United States," says Eli Izhakoff, chairman and CEO of WDC. "Given the importance of the U.S. market to the diamond industry, full compliance with international agreements to protect the legitimate trade from conflict diamonds is imperative."
From the date the rules go into effect, rough diamonds will no longer be permitted entry into the United States unless they are accompanied by an authentic Kimberley Process certificate from the originating country. The certificates state that the diamonds are handled in compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and United Nations resolutions preventing the trade in conflict diamonds.
The federal rules require rough diamonds exported from the U.S. be accompanied by a U.S. Kimberley Process certificate, issued through the U.S. Kimberley Process Authority. Each certificate will be assigned a unique number by the Automated Export System of the U.S. Census Bureau.
USKPA is a jewelry industry entity that licenses shipping and diamond companies to issue Kimberley Process certificates for use with exports of rough diamonds from the United States. Strict procedures for issuing and tracking these certificates are required by USKPA. Periodic audits are conducted by USKPA to ensure the system's integrity. USKPA directors are Matthew Runci of Jewelers of America, Martin Hochbaum of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York, and Cecilia Gardner of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.
Supplementing the new federal rules, the U.S. industry will participate in a voluntary international program of self-regulation by providing warranties for all diamonds. These warranties state diamonds have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict, and in compliance with U.N. resolutions. The warranties will by provided by suppliers of rough diamonds, polished diamonds and jewelry containing diamonds and can be passed through all levels of the trade, down to consumers.
"Vital to the success of the voluntary system of warranties is the initiative of retail jewelers in consistently securing from their diamond and diamond jewelry suppliers the appropriate warranty language either on invoices accompanying shipments or in legally binding contractual agreements with those vendors," said Runci, president and CEO of JA and executive director of WDC. JA will enlist the active support of all state jewelry associations to get a written commitment from members to use the warranties. State associations that secure written commitments from all of their members will receive subsidies for education programs at their events as a reward from JA.
Recommended guidance and information materials for retail jewelers, including sample language for use with vendors, may be downloaded from JA's Web site.
A WDC guide booklet for compliance with the Kimberley Process certification system is available from JVC, the DDCNY, Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America, the American Gem Society, JA, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, and CIBJO (the International Jewellery Confederation). It can also be downloaded from the Web sites of WDC , JVC and JA.