On Thursday, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) confirmed that its new sanctions on Russian diamonds will begin March 1.
The new rules will ban “diamonds that were mined, extracted, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Russian Federation, notwithstanding whether such diamonds have been substantially transformed [i.e., cut and polished] outside of the Russian Federation,” according to a document signed by the OFAC deputy director,
The March 1 ban will apply to polished diamonds that weigh one carat or more. On Sept. 1, the sanctions will expand to diamonds of at least half a carat.
The announcement didn’t specify whether importers will need to provide evidence that their polished diamonds weren’t mined in Russia—and if so, what evidence will be required.
The Treasury’s statement said OFAC “intends to issue additional public guidance regarding these determinations,” but no additional information had been released at press time.
Some in the industry had started to suspect the implementation date would be postponed, given that the deadline was approaching and government hadn’t offered any details on how the ban will be carried out. But this new announcement indicated that the U.S. is adhering to the G7 framework.
Those plans call for most polished diamonds over a half-carat to pass through a single node, most likely in Antwerp, starting in September. They also require that every gem be tracked on a blockchain-based ledger. The governments of Botswana and India reportedly oppose the proposed rules, though neither country is a member of the G7.
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