A Brief Introduction to Kimberley Process
2009-06-18

In recent years, “conflict diamonds” have aroused increasing global concerns, and become one of the issues discussed by the UN Security Council. Conflict diamonds problem refers to that some African anti-government agencies conduct illicit diamond exploitation and trade in the areas under their controls, and use the benefits from those illegal trades to purchase weapons and fund continuous conflicts.  

 

In order to resolve regional conflicts, diamond producing countries such as South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia initiated the meeting of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) in September 2000, which was aimed at prohibiting diamond sales in conflict zones. The meeting held in Kimberley, the place of origin of diamonds in South Africa, was a ministerial level meeting of major diamond-producing countries, diamond-manufacturing and trading nations. At the meeting, official discussion about the prohibition of conflict diamond trade and the establishment of Kimberley Process International Certification Scheme for Rough Diamonds has been undertaken. After discussion, it was advocated that Kimberley Process International Certification Scheme for Rough Diamonds should be established to provide international validation for the origin and legitimacy of diamonds. That would contribute to the regulation of international trades of rough diamonds, and would prevent rough diamonds from being utilized by forces or factions against legitimate and internationally recognized governments to fund military actions in opposition to those governments. It also could enhance world’s peace and security, and protect the legal diamond industries which are the mainstays of many countries’ economies.

 

On December 1, 2000, the UN General Assembly showed its support to “Kimberley Process” by consensus. From November 4 to 5, 2002, Kimberley Process Ministerial Level Meeting was held in Interlaken, Switzerland. The conference adopted the Interlaken Declaration and approved the official implementation of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to begin at January 1, 2003.

 

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is a special certificate that is designed to certify that rough diamonds under examination can meet the requirements of the certification scheme. With regard to foreign trade, Kimberley Process requires its members to ensure the accompaniment of Kimberley Process International Certificate with every shipment for export. When rough diamonds are imported to a member country, the Kimberley Process International Certificate shall be submitted. The import country shall check the said certificate, and then return the import confirmation certification to the exporter. Every member country shall ensure no importation or exportation of diamonds from non-member .

 

In terms of internal control, Kimberley Process requires every member: to establish an internal control scheme to prevent import or export of conflict diamonds; to designate an administrative organ for import or export; to ensure the packing material of rough diamonds for import or export is loss-prevention container; to modify and execute relevant laws or regulations according to the requirements, and use admonishment as well as proper punishment upon the occurrence of misconducts and irregularities; to collect and keep relevant information of production, import and export, and then, compare those data according to related requirements.

 

Chinais a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. It has been in the Kimberley Process since the process started. On December 30, 2002, six government ministries and commissions such as the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ), the General Administration of Customs, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the Economic Cooperation issued a joint announcement that the People’s Republic of China would implement KPCS, fulfill its international obligation, and prohibit illegal trade of conflict diamonds, to  safeguard the peace and stability of Africa from January 1, 2003.

 

According to the announcement, from January 1, 2003, rough diamonds described by KPCS would be listed in Chinese Catalogue of the Commodities for Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine. Those rough diamonds also belong to Commodities whose import is restricted in the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on the Administration of the Import and Export of Goods. Furthermore, importation and exportation of those diamonds only could be taken between member countries of Kimberley.

 

In addition, all the importers or exporters, agents, and carriers who participate in diamond trade shall take relevant certificates and register at a designated entry-exit inspection and quarantine institution of the port. When exporters are going through the exit formalities, exporters shall provide a declaration of non-conflict diamonds and relevant documents which can prove the validity of those rough diamonds for export to the exit inspection and quarantine institution of the port. After checking such documents by the exit inspection and quarantine institution of the port, certificates such as Kimberley Process Certificate for Rough Diamonds of the People's Republic of China and the Commodity Inspection Bill of Export Goodsshall be issued for the qualified individuals or organizations. Moreover inspection of rough diamonds shall be completed by the exit inspection and quarantine institution of the port based on relative provisions.

 

As for rough diamonds for import or export, China adopts overall management, regardless of different modes of trade and means of transportation. The Customs shall go through the entry-exit formalities for rough diamonds in accordance with the Commodity Inspection Bill of Export or Import Goodsissued by the inspection and quarantine institution of the port and other relevant documents.

 

The inspection and quarantine institution appointed by the AQSIQ is the agency responsible for accepting and checking the inspection and quarantine report for entry-exit rough diamonds under processing trade, and for issuing Commodity Inspection Bill of Export/Import Goods. Except through the processing trade, diamonds imported by other existing approaches of trade (including border trade, etc.) shall be managed under the mode of ordinary trades.

 

In addition, central government authorizes the Trade and Industry Department of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China to be in charge of businesses such as issuing and checking the Kimberley Process Certificate in Hong Kong special administrative region and so forth.

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