July 16, 2004
WDC Endorses Kimberley Expelling Congo
The World Diamond Council says it welcomed the announcement by the chair of the Kimberley Process that the Congo Republic (Congo-Brazzaville) has been expelled from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme based on the results of a visit by its team of experts to that country last month. "While it is certainly regrettable that any country should have to be expelled, in the council's view this decisive step demonstrates that the KPCS process is robust and has teeth," according to a statement issued by WDC, which represents the diamond and jewelry trade worldwide.
"A credible and effective KPCS is essential to the continued viability of the legitimate diamond trade and to the positive image and reputation of the product," says Eli Izhakoff, chairman and CEO of the WDC. "These are core elements in the foundation of consumer confidence in diamonds as a symbol of love. The diamond industry fully supports the chairman's decision."
WDC says it believes it's vital to the credibility of the KPCS scheme that its tolerance standards be rigorous and systematically applied. In its report, the KPCS fact-finding mission stated it found Congo-Brazzaville was exporting diamonds at a rate approximately 100 times greater than its estimated production. Moreover, the report cited the inability of authorities to account for the massive discrepancy between the volume of exports on the one hand and of domestic production and imports on the other.
"Given the explicit evidence that large quantities of diamonds have moved from Brazzaville with KPCS certificates into the legitimate diamond trading stream, the conditions cited by KP Chair Tim Martin as justification for the decision to expel this the Congo Republic from the system are entirely justified," says the WDC statement.