Israeli official promises to turn diamond exchange into free-trade zone

Israel’s Minister of Industry & Trade, Ehud Olmert, promised to examine a proposal to turn the Israel Diamond Exchange complex into a free trade zone, thereby promoting the supply of rough diamonds to Israel, at a conference for the young generation of diamantaires held at the Exchange.

“The government will do everything in its power to maintain and improve Israel’s leading position as a global diamond center,” he said.

The conference, held in Ramat Gan, Israel last week and attended by more than 350 diamantaires, dealt with the challenges facing the younger generation of diamond professionals.

At the conference, Israel Diamond Exchange President Shmuel Schnitzer said, “In addition to strengthening Israel’s position as a leading polishing center, we must develop Israel as a major trading center for polished diamonds, manufactured in Israel and abroad, and for rough diamonds from all over the world.” He added that the strength of Israel’s industry relies not only on its advanced technological capability and high level of expertise, but also on a highly motivated and professional younger generation of diamantaires.

Lev Leviev, who also addressed the conference, proposed turning the diamond exchange complex into a free trade zone, which would attract rough diamonds from all over the world. Leviev also called for improving bank financing by increasing the number of banks serving the industry.