De Beers will reportedly win EU approval

A plan by De Beers, the world’s leading supplier of diamonds, to expand its direct influence on gem retailing by locking in some distributors with preferred-supplier contracts is probably going to be approved by European Union officials, The New York Times reports.

The newspaper cites “people close to the union’s antitrust investigation of the plan” as its sources.

De Beers “Supplier of Choice” initiative was originally rejected in July 2001 and EU antitrust investigators threatened De Beers with full-scale anti-trust proceedings. The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, released a statement at the time saying that some restrictions and trading conditions in the agreements “appear to violate European competition law.”