ICA Concerned Over Burma Ban Law

The International Colored Gemstone Association said that the recently passed legislation that bars gemstones of Burmese origin—particularly jadeite and rubies—from entering the U.S. may cause what it terms as “collateral damage” on independent and poor populations in Myanmar and other countries.

ICA issued a statement Friday regarding the Tom Lantos “Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008,” signed by President Bush on July 29. This ban encompasses all jadeite and rubies coming from Burma, including stones that have been processed in other countries such as Thailand.

ICA reiterated that its policies are in line with all national and international associations against the violent repression of individuals, human rights and pro-democracy movements in Myanmar (formerly Burma). In light of this, ICA has asked its members to stop buying Burmese gemstones from any government sources and/or people who support those endeavors.

However, the ICA said it also fears that, the U.S. government’s systematic ban on the trade of Burmese gemstones may very well have a “negative impact and cause collateral damage upon independent and poor populations engaged in mining, processing and trading activities in Myanmar and other countries,” the statement read.

“Those who will suffer are the very people that the legislation intended to protect,” Andrew Cody, president of ICA, said in the statement. “It is a pity that the leadership in national, international and governmental agencies, people that are not really in-the-know as to what takes place on the ground, failed to consult our association on this issue, and to our knowledge, no collateral damage study was undertaken.”