The Indian diamond industry is expecting an increase of 35-40 per cent in import of rough diamonds from Russia in 2015-16, amid expectations that the world’s foremost diamond exploration country is looking at alternatives to divert the trade outside Europe due to sanctions imposed on it.
Alrosa, the Russian group of diamond mining companies, is expected to sign 12 long-term contracts with Indian companies, a development that will ensure consistent supplies to India, which is a world leader in polishing of rough diamonds.
Currently, Russia trades 63 per cent of its diamond production in Antwerp, Belgium.
The US and the EU have imposed an array of sanctions on Russian individuals and businesses in response to the annexation of Crimea and the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) is organising a world diamond conference, the first-ever, which will high-profile presence of world’s biggest mining companies like Alrosa, De Beers, Rio Tinto along with global retail giants like Harry Winston, Tiffany, Richemont and Chow Tai Fook. “We are expecting the direct import from Russia to go up by 35-40 per cent reducing transaction cost for our companies. This will be a huge advantage,” said Vipul Shah, chairman, GJEPC.
The conference will be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is visiting New Delhi between December 10 and 11 for attending the 15th India-Russia Summit. The government is already in the process of bringing in regulations for free movement of rough diamonds. “It is also devising and implementing provisions for a conducive taxation regime… equivalent to other trading centres like Belgium and Israel,” a source said.