A delegation of leaders of the diamond industry headed by Eli Izhakoff, chairman of the World Diamond Council, returned from Panama MOnday, after meeting with the Ricardo Martinelli, President of the Republic of Panama.
The delegation urged President Martinelli to eliminate any trade barriers that impede Panama’s import and export of diamonds and to have that country immediately adopt the legislation necessary to join the Kimberley Process.
According to a release from the Panama Diamond Exchange, President Martinelli will be initiating a session of the country’s National Assembly within the next few weeks, in order to complete legislation granting the area of the diamond exchange a free zone status. Martinelli also told the PDE that his government would expedite Panama’s membership in the Kimberley Process.
The legislation before the Panamanian National Assembly will provide permanent free trade status to the area of the Panama Diamond Exchange. It will enable the import and export of diamonds into and out of the zone free of customs and tariffs, as well as a preferential tax exempt status for companies that locate their businesses within the area of the Panama Diamond Exchange. The special legislation was necessary because this is the first time that such a status is being extended outside of the area of the Panama Canal.