The 36th biennial World Diamond Congress that took place in Antwerp this week offered an opportunity for industry leaders to tackle the trade’s most pressing issues. While much of the discussion focused on the reporting of activity rather than on setting policy, the discussion in itself is a worthy end goal. As a result, the atmosphere at the respective World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) annual meetings, which comprise the congress, was positive.
At the outset, the list of participants was as telling as the agenda, with high-level delegations from mining countries attending – including two African ministers. Significantly, there were representatives from Gokhran, the Russian state repository that tends to keep a low profile, at the Antwerp meetings.
The event presented an opportunity for host country Belgium to lobby its position as a leading rough diamond trading center. In arguably the most significant comment of the opening session, Kris Peeters, Minister-President of Flanders, asserted that Belgium would not support economic sanctions that might affect the diamond industry.
[two_third]The trading centers are clearly focused on guaranteeing rough supply, and competition for procuring rough is as healthy as ever – both among manufacturers and dealers, and between the bourses that service them. Also aiming his message at the mining sector, Maxim Shkadov, IDMA’s president, opened the congress with a plea for the manufacturing sector’s survival. After Shkadov set the tone, manufacturers’ lack of profitability was a recurring theme throughout the three-day event.[/two_third][one_third_last]
“The trading centers are clearly focused on guaranteeing rough supply.”