ICA Criticizes Burma Ban

The International Colored Gemstone Association criticized recently passed legislation that bars gemstones of Burmese origin—particularly jadeite and rubies—from entering the United States.

The Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008, signed by President Bush on July 29, may hurt independent miners and others in Myanmar and elsewhere, ICA said.

ICA said it has asked members to stop buying Burmese gemstones from government sources or any who support the government. However, ICA said it fears that the U.S. government’s systematic ban on the trade of Burmese gemstones may 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.”

“Those who will suffer are the very people that the legislation was intended to protect,” ICA president Andrew Cody 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.”