Kimberley Process delegation reviews U.S. operations

A six-person international delegation representing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme concluded talks this week with the U.S. government and the diamond and jewelry industry for its first U.S. Peer Review.

The three-day meeting, held June 28-30 in New York and Washington, focused on how the government and the industry were complying with both the government-regulated KPCS and the voluntary System of Warranties that underpins the government program, which was introduced by the World Diamond Council.

Each participating country in the Kimberley Process has agreed in principle to host a review team to assess implementation of the requirements of the KPCS. Eighteen reviews have already taken place, including the visit to the U.S.

The visiting delegation, hosted by the U.S. Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA), met at the New York Diamond Dealers Club. Delegation members represented three Kimberley Process participants, the World Diamond Council, and non-governmental organizations.

The delegation consisted of: Team leader Serguei Oulin, vice president, Alrosa, representing the Russian Federation; Sergey Panchekhin, member of the secretariat, Kimberley Process; Jacqueline Lenka, chief diamond inspector, South Africa Diamond Board; Clive Wright, first secretary, British Embassy representing the European Community; Yair Cohen, managing director, Israel Diamond Exchange, representing the World Diamond Council; and Ian Smillie, Partnership Africa Canada representing NGOs.

The USKPA, along with the Federal government, is responsible for oversight of trade compliance with the Kimberley Process in regard to the export of diamond rough from the U.S. The three directors of the USKPA are Chairman Martin Hochbaum of the Diamond Dealers Club; General Counsel Cecilia Gardner, Jewelers Vigilance Committe; and Secretary Mark Gershburg, Gemological Science International.

The agenda included an overview of USKPA procedures by Gardner and a presentation by JA President Matthew Runci on the trade initiatives to ensure the System of Warranties, a visit with U.S. Customs at JFK Airport, and a meeting with Malca-Amit—one of 14 companies licensed by the USKPA and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to ship rough diamonds.