WFDB refuses to join CRJP and approves plan to launch the WFDB Mark

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses refused to join the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices and approved a plan that will result of the official launch of the WFDB Mark at the World Diamond Congress in June of 2006, the Antwerp Facets News Service reports. The presidents of the diamond bourses also cautioned bourse members against handling rough diamonds originating from the Côte d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast.

These actions were taken as part of the WFDB biennial presidents meeting held in Mumbai, India. This was the first time an official gathering of the WFDB had taken place on the Indian subcontinent. Held in conjunction with the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, the Presidents Meeting was hosted by the Bharat Diamond Bourse and the Indian Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

Acting on a recommendation by the WFDB’s executive committee, the presidents decided unanimously to not seek membership in the recently created CRJP, saying that the structure of the CRJP was “problematic” and did not account for the role played by representative organizations in the industry, AFNS reports.

In other action, the WFDB presidents approved a program to launch the WFDB Mark within seven months, AFNS reports. The WFDB Mark is a trademarked logo, which approved members of WFDB-affiliated diamond exchanges will be able to display to clients and suppliers, to confirm that they abide by the World Federation’s better business principles.

The heads of the diamond bourses also agreed to create a document, called the “World Federation Code of Principles,” that lists the conclusions drawn from the WFDB relating to the issues concerning consumer confidence. Bourse members who are permitted to display the WFDB Mark will be required to sign the document, by which they formally commit to uphold these principles. A media campaign is planned to educate consumers of the program and the WFDB Mark.

The WFDB also agreed to do the following:

* Not to buy rough diamonds from the northern region of the Côte d’Ivoire, since such merchandise is currently being embargoed by the legitimate diamond trade.

* In a joint statement with IDMA, recognized the provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act, and noted that similar anti-money laundering legislation in other countries exists or is being prepared with the same goals. The two organizations expressed their concern that the implementation of the U.S. Patriot Act in the diamond, gem, and jewelry industry will disturb the free flow of international trade with the United States and may create a trade barrier. The WFDB and IDMA encouraged U.S. regulators to accept that non-U.S. dealers who comply with their countries AML legislation in the same way as they accept U.S. dealers who comply with the U.S. Patriot Act regulations.

* Reiterated its earlier call that laboratories issuing grading reports for High Pressure-High Temperature diamonds, to do so on certificates that are visibly different from those issued for non-treated natural diamonds. Noting that the HRD Certificates Department has adopted such a policy, the WFDB called on the GIA to follow suit. Thomas Moses, the head of the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory, who attended the meeting in Mumbai, promised that his organization will consider the matter.

* Noted the increased level of debt among bourse members, it called on WFDB bourses to conduct educational programs aimed at improving the payment ethos in the industry. It also agreed to conduct a study to examine the legal ramifications of publishing names of bourse members who are delinquent in their payments.

* Affirmed the dates of the next World Diamond Congress, which will take place in Tel Aviv, June 26-29, 2006, and the next presidents meeting, which will be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, June 24-26, 2007.