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EU outlines G7 ban on Russian diamonds, diamond jewellery

The Council of the European Union has taken a decisive step to intensify pressure on Russia in response to its destabilising actions in Ukraine. The official statement, released on 18th December 2023 in the Official Journal of the European Union, outlines stringent measures, including a targeted prohibition on the diamond trade with Russia.

Reaffirming unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, the Council’s decision comes in the wake of Russia’s ongoing aggression. The European Council, in its October 2023 conclusions, condemned Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, emphasising the Union’s commitment to Ukraine’s independence and the need for strengthened sanctions against Russia.

The EU Council has introduced additional restrictive measures, particularly focusing on diamonds. The key provision is a ban on the direct or indirect import, purchase, or transfer of diamonds from Russia. This ban covers diamonds originating in Russia, those exported from Russia, diamonds transiting through Russia, and Russian diamonds processed in third countries.

The coordinated effort within the G7 to ban Russian diamonds aims to deprive Russia of a crucial revenue source. The action requires simultaneous measures in major global diamond markets, including restrictions on Russian diamonds processed in third countries.

The G7 ban prohibits the purchase, import, or transfer of diamonds and diamond products from Russia, with a phased implementation starting from 1st January 2024. It includes non-industrial natural and synthetic diamonds, as well as diamond jewellery.

The European Council determined the timeline of restrictions as follows:

As of 1 January 2024, it is prohibited to purchase, import, or transfer diamonds and products incorporating diamonds, directly or indirectly, if they originate in Russia or have been exported from Russia into the Union or to any third country.

As of 1 March 2024, the ban extends to the purchase, import, or transfer of products processed in a third country consisting of diamonds originating in Russia or exported from Russia, with a weight equal to or above 1.0 carats per diamond.

By 1 September 2024, the ban further includes products processed in a third country consisting of or incorporating diamonds originating in Russia or exported from Russia, with a weight equal to or above 0.5 carats or 0.1 grams per diamond.

Exceptions to the ban are outlined, allowing for personal use by individuals traveling to the European Union and their immediate family members. Cultural goods on loan in the context of formal cultural cooperation with Russia may also be authorised.

The ban necessitates a traceability mechanism for effective enforcement, minimising disruptions for market players. Importers must provide evidence of the country of origin of diamonds or diamond products used as inputs in the processing of products in third countries. This evidence, including a certificate certifying that the diamonds are not mined, processed, or produced in Russia, becomes mandatory as of 1 September 2024.

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