In a significant development, representatives from the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the U.S. Consulate Mumbai convened discussions with the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) leadership on 25th May, 2023 in Mumbai. The primary agenda of the meeting revolved around the current state of the Indian diamond industry in light of the United States government and G7’s efforts to tighten sanctions on diamonds originating from Russia.
The US delegation comprised Matthew Sullivan, Chief Counsel, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Kathryn Chaudoin, Senior Counsel, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Kevin Barlow, Vice Consul, U.S. Consulate Mumbai; Andrew Caruso, Consul for Economic Affairs, U.S. Consulate Mumbai; and Trisha Chilimbi, Economic Specialist, U.S. Consulate Mumbai.
The meeting saw the participation of key industry figures, including Mr. Vipul Shah, Chairman of GJEPC, Mr. Anoop Mehta, President of BDB, Mr. Ajesh Mehta, Convener of the Diamond Panel at GJEPC, and Mr. Sabyasachi Ray, Executive Director of GJEPC. The Indian representatives expressed their concerns to the U.S. delegation regarding the challenges posed by the G7’s intention to segregate diamonds based on their origin.
During the discussions, the Indian diamond industry leaders emphasised their willingness to embrace pragmatic and feasible solutions that involve certification and auditable processes, as opposed to solely relying on signed declarations.
Recognising the sheer magnitude of the Indian diamond industry’s workforce, which encompasses millions of individuals involved in various stages of the supply chain, the leaders acknowledged that any changes or transitions must be carefully implemented to minimise the adverse effects on employment.
They also underscored the importance of developing advanced technologies that would facilitate the implementation of solutions acceptable to all stakeholders across the entire supply chain, including miners, traders, manufacturers, polishers, brokers, and jewellers.