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Russian diamonds face EU sanctions - newspaper

21 september 2023

Despite the fact that until recently Belgium held back the introduction of EU restrictions on Russian diamonds, it has since become known that this country has finally decided on a plan to oust Russian gems from the market. However, difficulties in implementing these restrictions remain.

It was not by chance that Belgium came up with the plan, since Belgian city of Antwerp is one of the world's biggest diamond trade and manufacturing centers, Vedomosti explains, citing the Belgian publication Le Soir.

During the discussion of EU sanctions against Russia, proposals were repeatedly made to impose restrictions on diamonds, but this step has so far been held back by Belgium. Brussels argued that in the event of an embargo, trade would be redirected to other centers, such as Dubai, and this would not affect the flow of Russian diamonds.

The initiative to completely ban the use of Russian rough diamonds and restrict the sale of products made from it, even those made outside Russia in other countries, was proposed to be included in the 11th package of EU sanctions.

However, the proposal also faced technical difficulties: it turned out to be technically impossible to track the entire supply chain. The EU decided to think about the mechanism, and the Russian diamond industry is still facing sanctions only indirectly: ALROSA reported difficulties with receiving payments through foreign banks.

Previously, the G7 countries have already announced plans to impose sanctions from January 2024. However, experts doubt that bans will be in effect, since Russian diamonds occupy almost a third of the world market.

If some kind of rough diamond tracking system is implemented, the settlement and manufacturing centers will probably just move to other countries.

In 2022, the United States imposed a ban on the import of all Russian diamonds, except technical ones.

Alex Shishlo for Rough&Polished