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Antwerp Diamond Office Reports Significant Reduction in Delays

Antwerp, Belgium – The Diamond Office in Antwerp has announced a notable reduction in delays, following complaints from traders regarding extended wait times for customs clearance, which had previously exceeded a week.

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The introduction of new G7 sanctions against Russia on March 1st necessitated importers to furnish documentary evidence demonstrating the origin of any diamond weighing 1.0 carat or more.

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Ari Epstein, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), overseeing the Diamond Office’s operations, stated, “Waiting times now consistently fall below the 24-hour threshold for shipments accompanied by complete files.”

Epstein emphasized the efficacy of recent initiatives, acknowledging the significant decrease in incomplete files, from 90% to less than 15%, with ongoing improvements in figures.

All diamonds entering the European Union are presently directed through Antwerp’s Diamond Office.

Concerns over procedural inefficiencies were raised by nearly 150 Antwerp traders in the preceding month, prompting a call for a comprehensive review to address escalating costs and customer losses.

“We share the goals and the spirit of the sanctions but object to this cumbersome, ineffective, and inefficient execution,” traders expressed in an open letter to AWDC.

In response, Epstein highlighted substantial progress achieved collectively and referenced a webinar offering detailed guidance on the requisite paperwork under the new regulations.

“We are in the final stages of discussions regarding grandfathered goods (diamonds predating the new restriction), and to ensure a seamless transition, we will conduct an informative session for Antwerp’s diamantaires outlining the necessary procedures once finalized,” Epstein assured in a letter dated March 29th.

The ongoing dialogue seeks to streamline processes while maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements.

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