Sunday, July 21, 2024

EU Delays Diamond Traceability Deadline Amid New Sanctions on Russia

New York— The European Union has announced a delay in the enforcement of its import ban on Russian diamonds, pushing the deadline back while also clarifying policies on goods already within the EU prior to the ban.

The announcement, made Monday as part of new sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, stated that diamonds in the EU or a third country before the ban are exempt from the restrictions. This exemption is referred to as “grandfathering.”

The EU’s ban on Russian diamonds took effect on January 1 for direct imports and was extended on March 1 to include diamonds mined in Russia but cut and polished elsewhere. Furthermore, the EU has extended the deadline for implementing full traceability of rough and polished diamond imports from September 1, 2024, to March 1, 2025.

In December, the Group of Seven (G-7) nations called for major diamond-importing countries to establish a robust traceability and certification mechanism for rough diamonds by September 1, 2024. However, the industry has yet to develop a comprehensive traceability system, prompting the EU’s six-month delay.

The EU also announced a postponement of the ban on jewelry set with diamonds mined in Russia but cut and polished elsewhere, permitting temporary imports or exports of such jewelry for trade shows or repairs.

Sara Yood, the new president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), noted that while the EU’s decision addressed “grandfathering” and extended the traceability deadline, it did not mention the impending reduction of the carat threshold for polished diamonds. The current G-7 ban applies to diamonds weighing 1 carat or more, but this threshold will drop to 0.5 carats on September 1.

Yood expects this deadline to remain unchanged. “JVC has been encouraging its members to prepare for these changes well in advance of their implementation dates,” she said.

While the EU has provided clarity, the U.S. government has yet to issue similar guidance. Yood emphasized the importance of understanding the nuances for diamonds imported before the bans, particularly for heritage pieces and repairs.

On Tuesday, leaders from the U.S. jewelry industry held a virtual meeting with State Department officials to discuss diamonds that were in G7 countries before the March 1 ban. This meeting followed lobbying efforts by the Jewelers of America earlier this month in Washington, D.C. No official decisions were made during the meeting.

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