WFDB To Introduce Consumer Confidence Mark in 2006

November 15, 2005

WFDB To Introduce Consumer Confidence Mark in 2006

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses concluded its biennial Presidents' Meeting in Mumbai on Nov. 15 by announcing WFDB would introduce the WFDB Mark at the World Diamond Congress in June of next year. The WFDB Mark is a trademarked logo that approved members of WFDB-affiliated diamond exchanges will be able to display to clients and suppliers, to confirm they abide by the World Federation's better business principles.

In his introduction of the program, WFDB President Shmuel Schnitzer stressed the WFDB Mark is essentially a consumer confidence program. The WFDB presidents agreed that a stand-alone document, called the World Federation Code of Principles, or WFCOP, would be drawn up, clearly listing the conclusions drawn from the various relevant resolutions passed by the organization over the past several years relating to the issues concerning consumer confidence. Bourse members who are permitted to display the WFDB Mark will be required to sign the document, by which they formally commit to uphold these principles. The group will launch a media campaign to instill the symbol and the significance of the WFDB Mark in the public's consciousness, it says.

"Whilst a number of organizations have introduced sets of Best Business Principles, they are currently tackling the considerably more difficult, and may I state more expensive task, of creating systems for auditing, monitoring and enforcement," Schnitzer said in a press statement. "To the best of my knowledge, among the major representative organizations, no such system is yet in place – with one notable exception. We in the WFDB have had such a system in operation since our inception (in 1947). Every one of our affiliated bourses has an effective judicial system in place, and, under the auspices of the WFDB, a decision taken at one bourse is enforced in all its sister bourses."

The relationship between the WFDB and the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices was also discussed during the first session of the two-day meeting. Acting on a recommendation by the WFDB's executive committee, the presidents decided unanimously that the World Federation would not seek membership in the recently created CRJP. The group says it believes the structure of the CRJP is problematic and does not account for the role played by representative organizations in the industry.

In a joint statement with IDMA, the WFDB said it recognized the provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act, and noted that similar anti-money laundering legislation in other countries exists or is being prepared with the same goals. The two organizations expressed their concern that the implementation of the U.S. Patriot Act in the diamond, gem and jewelry industry will disturb the free flow of international trade with the United States and may create a trade barrier. The WFDB and IDMA say they have encouraged U.S. regulators to accept non-U.S. dealers who fully comply with their countries' AML legislation in the same way as they accept U.S. dealers who comply with the U.S. Patriot Act regulations. WFDB and IDMA say they will work with government authorities to encourage international compliance with AML laws.

In its discussion on the certification of diamonds that have been color-treated through a high pressure-high temperature process, the WFDB reiterated its earlier call that laboratories issuing grading reports for such diamonds do so on certificates that are visibly different from those issued for non-treated natural diamonds. Noting that the HRD certificates department has adopted such a policy, the WFDB called on the Gemological Institute of America to follow suit. Thomas Moses, senior vice president, GIA Laboratory and Research, who attended the meeting in Mumbai, said GIA will consider the matter further.

This was the first time that an official gathering of the WFDB had taken place on the Indian subcontinent. Held in conjunction with the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), the Presidents' Meeting was hosted by the Bharat Diamond Bourse and the Indian Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

The Presidents' Meeting said the next World Diamond Congress will take place in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 26-29, 2006, and the next Presidents' Meeting, will take place in Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 24-26, 2007.

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