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Conflict Diamonds Ban And Certification Of Rough Diamonds

2003: Conflict Diamonds Ban And General Council Of WTO

Mar. 2003

The World Trade Organization agreed that countries can sidestep one of its basic principles and ban the conflict diamonds that have financed civil wars in Africa.

The WTO said this was because of "the humanitarian nature of this issue."

52 governments and the diamond industry have agreed on a worldwide accord to stop trade in blood diamonds, after 2 1/2 years of discussions.

Batches of exported rough diamonds must be accompanied by government certification that prove they do not come from conflict areas. No gems can be imported into another country without the certificate.

Anyone who breaks the rules, whether a private exporter or importer, will lose their trading license. Exporting countries that are not part of the agreement will be barred from selling diamonds and could face international sanctions.

The waiver applies to any country that took part in the Kimberley Process and any other WTO member that wants to be part of the agreement. The waiver must still be approved by the WTO’s General Council.

Following the WTO decision, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas said he will move quickly to enact legislation that would implement the Kimberley Process in the United States.


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