Antwerp Diamond Industry Pleased with Modi

Modi with diamond traders

Brussels: Given the importance of diamonds in the trade relations between Belgium and India, Indian Prime Minister personally welcomed members from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre’s Board of Directors during his visit to Belgium. Several points were discussed, including the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) norms on imports.

Belgium is one of Europe’s top three trade partners with India, and is the second largest exporter of goods to India. This is primarily attributable to the diamond trade. The diamond trade accounts for approximately 82% ($7.85 billion) of all Belgian goods exported to India. Antwerp is the most important global trade center for rough and polished diamonds, with trade turnover of $58.8 million in 2014.

AWDC CEO Ari Epstein said, “Trade relations between Antwerp and India are excellent, and the fact that Indian Prime Minister Modi recognized this explicitly by inviting us to meet him personally is greatly appreciated. Nonetheless, we did not wish to let the opportunity to speak directly with the prime minister of India pass us by without speaking up for the Antwerp diamond industry on several important issues.”

One issue that Prime Minister Modi could solve very quickly is the long delay in receiving RBI permission for clean credit facility when these are longer than 180 days. Clean credit is a loan given by a foreign supplier to its Indian customer for importing diamonds without formal guarantees from an Indian financial institution, making the process swifter and easier. Banks are permitted to approve clean credit to Indian importers for imports of rough and polished diamonds, but not for a period exceeding 180 days.

Ari further said, “Obviously, we are pleased to see that just a day after our meeting with the prime minister, the RBI decided to allow State banks to approve clean credit facility given by foreign suppliers to Indian importers of rough and polished diamonds, even beyond 180 days. This will only serve to strengthen the already robust trade relations between the Antwerp and Indian diamond industries.”