Friday, July 12, 2024

US Closes Origin Loophole for Russian Diamonds in Tightened Executive Order

Washington D.C.—In a significant move, President Biden signed a directive on Friday, amending a March 2022 executive order that previously barred the import of nonindustrial diamonds into the United States. This updated directive specifically eliminates the “substantial transformation” loophole, which previously permitted diamonds polished in India or other cutting centers to enter the US legally.

The amended executive order now lists diamonds among the products banned for import, regardless of whether they have undergone incorporation or substantial transformation outside the Russian Federation.

These changes are in line with a December 6 statement by the Group of Seven (G7) leaders, urging member nations to restrict imports of Russian diamonds processed in third countries starting from March 1. However, the US has not specified a timeline for the enforcement of this ban.

Furthermore, while the previous order restricted solely the “importation” of Russian diamonds, the updated order extends this prohibition to both “importation and entry” into the United States.

This directive is applicable to products falling under the harmonized tariff codes 7102.10 (unsorted diamonds), 7102.31 (rough diamonds), and 7102.39 (polished diamonds).

The initial sanctions imposed by the US came into effect shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Despite the existence of the loophole, numerous American retailers and consumers voluntarily boycotted Russian diamonds, irrespective of their manufacturing location.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan emphasized the collaborative efforts with allies and partners, stating, “Together with our allies and partners, we have implemented the most extensive set of sanctions and export control measures ever imposed on a major economy. This aims to undermine Russia’s capacity to engage in war and to hold Russia accountable for its aggressive actions in attempting to forcibly conquer its neighbor and subdue its people.”

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