IDMA Tackles Thorny Issues at 36th WDC

logo_IDMAAntwerp: With the close of the 36th World Diamond Congress in Antwerp, Belgium, members of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) concluded their deliberations, after raising and discussing a long list of topics that weigh heavily on the minds of diamond manufacturers worldwide. IDMA President Maxim Shkadov emphasized at the concluding press conference on June 19 that his organization was facing many challenges, which all, in one way or another, were related to manufacturers’ lack of profitability.

“Our industry’s relationships with the banks and financial institutions that partner with the international diamond industry and trade were on the top of our long agenda,” Shkadov continued. “First of all, we wish to enhance and solidify the longstanding, mutually beneficial relationship between the diamond industry and its banking partners worldwide.

Therefore, in recognition of the industry’s dependence on a healthy and enduring long-term relationship with financial institutions, the IDMA members resolved to engage the industry’s bankers in constructive dialogue, so that industry members may better understand the intricacies of international and domestic regulatory changes that continue to impact client relationships,” Shkadov stated.

Secretary-General Ronnie VanderLinden said IDMA was working with the banks to convene an international banking conference in New York that is scheduled to take place toward the end of November. “Through this dialogue, IDMA is endeavoring to identify and communicate more effectively to our members the structural and reputational requirements necessary to perpetuate and improve the industry’s long-term relationships with the banks,” he added.

In their talks about the rough diamond market and the changes in the supply chain of rough diamonds to the industry, the meeting resolved to communicate to the rough diamond producers their deep concerns about the viability of the diamond manufacturing industry.

The meeting also spent considerable time discussing the significant discrepancies that have surfaced between laboratory diamond grading standards. The discussion’s participants, who were joined by diamond industry analyst Martin Rapaport, expressed their concern about the potential negative impact this may have on consumer protection/consumer confidence in diamonds.

In addition, the IDMA members heard reports on the Precious Stones Multi-Stakeholder Working Group (PSMSWG) and on the Diamond Development Initiative, and the necessity of promoting advances in social and economic conditions throughout the diamond mining sector worldwide. The meeting resolved to encourage members to take part in the PSMSWG discussions.

Alan Martin of Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), who was invited to participate in the meetings, addressed IDMA members about the recent FATF report on the diamond sector. The participants then discussed the seriousness of the issues raised in the report and the need to address potential vulnerabilities.

The topic of synthetic/lab grown diamonds resulted not only in a demand to continue the efforts of detection and the need for proper disclosure, but also a call on the diamond industry trade to engage in constructive dialogue with the synthetic diamond growers The IDMA members also echoed the long-standing requirement for full disclosure of any diamond treatment, and voted that the following statement should appear on all invoices for sales of natural, untreated diamonds: “The diamond(s) contained herein are natural and untreated.”

Further reports were submitted by Edward Asscher, the recently elected president of the World Diamond Council (WDC) and by Harry Levy, chairman of the International Diamond Council (IDC).