The government looks at the jewelry trade as a partner as it tries to solve problems in the industry supply chain, Robert F. Cekuta, the deputy assistant secretary for energy, sanctions, and commodities for the U.S. State Dept., said at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee’s annual luncheon Jan. 7.
“I hope we can continue to collaborate closely to realize the goal we would all like to see—a prosperous U.S .jewelry industry that does well by doing good,” Cekuta said.
He noted the Securities and Exchange Commission in December issued proposed rules on “conflict gold” that will impact publicly listed jewelry sellers and manufacturers.
“Violence in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo feeds off the illicit trade in minerals,” he said. “Consumers do not want to buy or own products that have contributed to violence or human rights abuses.”
He also praised the Kimberley Process, the international certification scheme that aims to eliminate conflict diamonds.
“One of the things that we forget about the Kimberley Process is how it has helped, and played a role in saving lives,” he said.
But he expressed concern about Zimbabwe’s compliance with the scheme’s dictates. The KP is currently blocking exports from the Marange region.
He added that while the situation in Maragne has improved, “there is still some ways to go.”
“The country’s achievement of total compliance with the KP is in Zimbabwe’s long-term interest,” he said.
He added that there was also an increase in conflict diamonds from Cote D’Ivoire and the Central African Republic.
Finally, he said the industry must continue to support the ban on Burmese rubies.
“The human rights situation in Burma remains abysmal,” Cekuta said.