U.S. Kimberley Authority ‘Working Extremely Well’

The Kimberley Process is working well in the United States, officials from the United States Kimberley Process Authority told a recent news conference at the Diamond Dealers Club.

“We have spent a lot of time and energy designing a system that is effective, practical, and robust,” says Cecilia Gardner, the USKPA’s vice president and general counsel.

The USKPA governs rough exports only. Although the United States is not considered a big exporter of rough, the USKPA issues 30 to 40 Kimberley Process certificates per week.

With every parcel of rough they export, shippers have to sign a warrant that stipulates that their goods do not fund conflicts. This warrant is legally enforceable and signing it exposes the shipper to legal liability.

The major industry shippers—like Brinks, Ferrari Express, and Malca-Amit—have become USKPA licensees, meaning they are permitted to issue certificates. In addition, some diamond companies have become licensees because it’s easier to handle the process in-house.

So far the process has run relatively smoothly. Any problems have been mostly caused by “human error,” such as writing the wrong number of carats on the invoice.

However, Gardner says, “We are, in a way, happy when holdups happen. That means the system works.”

Also at the conference were USKPA chairman Dr. Martin Hochbaum and secretary Mark Gershburg.