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Rediff.com  » Business » WTO waiver for Kimberly norm on diamond trade

WTO waiver for Kimberly norm on diamond trade

March 05, 2003 12:43 IST

The World Trade Organisation Council for trade in goods has agreed to recommend to the general council, a waiver for trade measures under the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme for rough diamonds for 11 members. India is a signatory to this process will also look into the implications of the move.

The council arrived at this decision in Canada at a meeting on February 26. Countries covered under the recommendation include Australia, Brazil, Israel, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States and Canada.

These members have requested a waiver from GATT rules to give legal certainty to domestic measures that these countries have taken under the Kimberley Process aimed at curbing the trade in conflict diamonds while supporting legitimate diamond trade, says the WTO website.

The WTO waiver decision would exempt trade measures taken under the Kimberley Process from GATT provisions on most-favoured-nation treatment, elimination of quantitative restrictions and non-discriminatory administration of quantitative restrictions, for the period of from 1 January 2003 until 31 December 2006. The exemption would apply to 11 members and other nations which may join later.

The agreed decision recognised "the extraordinary humanitarian nature of this issue and the devastating impact of conflicts fuelled by trade in conflict diamonds on the peace, safety and security of people in affected countries and the systematic and gross human rights violations that have been perpetrated in such conflicts," said the website.

India has also become signatory to this process with the Gems and Jewellry Export Promotion Council being appointed as the authority to provide Kimberly Certification.

Participants in the Kimberley Process, on November 5, 2002, issued the Interlaken Declaration expressing their intent to implement an international scheme of certification for rough diamonds to help break the link between armed conflict and the trade in rough diamonds. Reserve Bank of India had recently issued a directive for adherence to Kimberley process.

The Kimberley Process provides that each participant should ensure that no shipment of rough diamonds is imported or exported to a non-participant and is also accompanied with a certificate saying that the diamonds sourced are from an area of a participant.

BS Commodities Bureau