The G7’s Long-Awaited Statement on Russian Diamonds Is Here
It provides a timeline for the implementation of new restrictions, but no details.
According to the statement, the G7 will ban the import of non-industrial diamonds “mined, processed, or produced” in Russia beginning on Jan. 1, 2024.
In the U.S., the import of non-industrial Russian diamonds has been prohibited since March 11, 2022 following an executive order from President Joe Biden.
Wednesday’s announcement by the G7 broadens the ban to Western nations that do not currently have a ban on imports of diamonds from Russia, including the European Union.
The EU has not included diamonds in previous rounds of sanctions on Russia due to objections from Belgium, which is home to a major diamond trading hub—Antwerp.
The G7 member nations are: the U.S., U.K., Japan, Italy, Germany, Canada, and France. The EU is a non-enumerated member.
On March 1, 2024, a ban on the import of Russian diamonds “processed” (cut and polished) in other countries, such as India, will go into effect, a measure meant to counteract the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “substantial transformation” rule.
Under the rule, goods that are “substantially transformed” from their original state in another country become a product of the country where the transformation took place, e.g., a rough diamond mined in Russia but crafted into a polished diamond in India is technically a product of India, not Russia.
Substantial transformation has allowed Russian diamonds to continue to enter the U.S., a pathway the G7 nations were intent on shutting down when they announced plans to tighten restrictions on Russian diamonds earlier this year.
The G7’s statement also noted that G7 member countries that are “major” importers of rough diamonds will have to establish a “robust traceability-based verification and certification mechanism” for rough diamonds by Sept. 1, 2024.
While there were multiple plans circulated by industry groups, including the “G7 Diamond Protocol” the World Diamond Council developed with industry input and the “EU Proposal,” which calls for all finished diamonds to pass through a “polished node” to certify them as non-Russian, the G7’s statement did not provide any specifics on what this mechanism will or should be.
It stated only, “We will continue to consult with partners, including producing and manufacturing countries on its design and implementation.”
Leaders of the G7 announced the restrictions on Russian diamonds following an online meeting held Wednesday.
Diamonds were part of a lengthy statement released by the group in which it reiterated its support for Ukraine and outlined other measures intended to cut off Russia’s sources of revenue, including the enforcement of a price cap policy on Russian oil and continuing its efforts to reduce the amount of money the country makes from metals.
Japan served as president of the G7 in 2023. Italy will be taking over in 2024.
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