Venezuela May Resume Diamond Trading

Caracas: The UAE is thought to be likely to back Venezuela’s potential return to diamond trading, after DMCC chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem held a number of meetings in the country, according to a report in The National newspaper.

Bin Sulayem, the current chairman of the Kimberley Process, has been in Venezuela to examine ways that the country can resume diamond trading after a more than seven-year hiatus. Venezuela’s former president, the late Hugo Chavez, withdrew the countryy from the Kimberley Process (KP) in 2008, amid concerns that it was not monitoring conflict diamonds rigorously enough.

The country is rich in gems, but has been mostly reliant on its oil revenues and is facing dire financial straits as oil prices have plummeted. If Venezuela returns to diamond trading, it could provide a way to make up for the financial shortfall caused by the loss of oil revenue.

“Mr Bin Sulayem’s visit is important for us. It will allow us to re-enter the international diamond world with values made by Venezuelans,” said Jose Khan, director of the Venezuela Central Bank.

The paper suggested that Venezuela could be back trading diamonds by the end of the year, subject to a formal review visit by members of the KP.

“There is still some way to go but my meetings here have convinced me that Venezuela is serious about rejoining the process. I hope they will go further and play a leadership role in helping resolve other outstanding issues in the diamond business,” said Bin Sulayem.