EU looking for ways to restrict Russian diamonds

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The EU wants to tighten economic sanctions on Russia by imposing further restrictions on trade in precious stones.

According to a statement from the European commissioner for financial stability, Meirid McGuinness on the website of the European Parliament, Brussels is looking for ways to restrict the trade in Russian diamonds and their use, to reduce Moscow’s export revenues.

The comments came in response to a query from MEP Tomas Zdechovsky, who claimed that “significant quantities” of uncut gems are being exported through EU channels and worldwide.

Zdechovsky submitted his query on May 31, asking whether the commission was planning to include the Russian export of uncut gems in the sanctions package that the EU was preparing at the time.

Under the current EU sanctions, Russian synthetic or reconstructed gemstones are subject to an import ban, while other gemstones and diamonds are not subject to import restrictions unless they are set in gold jewelry.

McGuinness replied to Zdechovsky on Wednesday, nearly a month after the latest sanctions package was approved. The new measures signed off on June 23 focused on preventing Russia from circumventing the existing trade restrictions with the help of third countries, and did not address the issue of diamonds.

According to McGuinness, the commission engages with G7 countries and other key partners, including industry, to “design and ensure effective implementation of future coordinated restrictive measures, including through tracing technologies.” Diamond tracing allows the origin of precious stones to be checked and their path from the mine to the jeweler to be traced.

Any decision to extend or amend existing restrictive measures on imports from Russia must be made by the council unanimously, she added.

Moscow said in May that if the EU sanctions Russian diamonds, it will find buyers elsewhere.

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