The Antwerp, Belgium, diamond industry is very concerned about reports of possible European Union sanctions against Russian rough exports, said industry group Antwerp World Diamond Centre.
An April 16 article in The Wall Street Journal reported that E.U. authorities are considering sanctions against several Russian products, including diamonds, in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Russian diamond producer Alrosa is the world’s largest diamond miner by volume.
“It is still premature to speak of economic sanctions,” the group said in a statement to JCK. “However, the AWDC is very concerned over the possible consequences of potential sanctions.”
Sanctions could seriously hurt Antwerp, it said, noting that Russian diamonds account for 25 percent of the city’s total rough imports. In addition, Antwerp accounts for about half of Russia’s diamond exports in terms of volume and value.
“Sanctions tend to be of a temporary nature,” the statement said. “The reality, however, is that their potential consequences would not be temporary… [T]he change in trade flows to other competing diamond centers would be irreversible.”