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JA and Stakeholders Visit Washington, DC

The group met with a dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers to discuss implementing import restrictions on Russian diamonds.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK, NY — Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, invited key industry stakeholders to Washington, D.C. to meet with top lawmakers and share concerns about implementation plans for import restrictions of Russian diamonds into the United States. JA president & CEO David J. Bonaparte represented the organization and led the group consisting of Jon Bridge, chair/counsel emeritus of Ben Bridge Jeweler; Dave Meleski, president & CEO of Richline Group; Matthew Swibel, VP, sustainability and social impact of Signet Jewelers; and Ronnie VanderLinden, immediate past president of Diamond Manufacturers Importers Association of America and president of International Diamond Manufacturers Association.

Advocacy and lobbying are two of JA’s core initiatives that support Jewelers of America’s mission to ensure consumer confidence and protect the U.S. retail jewelry industry. JA continues to staunchly support efforts that will keep diamonds of Russian origin out of the supply chain, including the more stringent U.S. Customs and Border Patrol requirements that went into effect on March 1. However, the proposed adoption of an exclusive physical verification and certification system in Belgium for all rough diamonds would cause maximum damage to the global diamond and jewelry supply chain, while having minimal effect on Russia’s diamond revenues.

“JA has been working tirelessly behind the scenes and this visit to Washington, D.C. was a critical step to ensure we minimize unnecessary disruptions to the U.S. diamond industry,” says JA president & CEO David J. Bonaparte. “We are very concerned about the additional requirements that could take effect on September 1 – including adopting a European Union proposal that would force all G7/U.S.-bound diamonds of a half a carat and above through a single import channel in Belgium.”

The group met with a dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers and their staffs in both the House and Senate that serve on committees with oversight of trade-related issues. These meetings highlighted various supply chain disruptions that stem from proposed diamond import requirements on September 1, and the resulting increased costs to American jewelry consumers, which represent more than 50% of the global market. The group raised awareness on the following:

  • The financial, operational and supply chain harms posed by the G7/EU proposal for a single import channel of rough diamonds through Belgium, are too great for the U.S. Government to accept.
  • The urgent need for a “grandfathering” clause that applies to all diamonds and diamond jewelry imported to the U.S. prior to March 1, 2024, which is necessary to protect the value of the trillions of dollars of diamonds and diamond jewelry held by the U.S. consumers, as well as the inventories of the U.S. diamond jewelry industry.
  • The benefits of maintaining attestation of rough and loose diamonds imported into the U.S. and the current certifications systems in place at producer country level.
  • The value of issuing additional guidance to clarify for both the industry and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials that the current one carat import restrictions applies only to individual, loose diamonds and not the total weight of all diamonds in finished jewelry.

Jewelers of America calls on all JA members to support this effort by using JA’s Legislative Action Center to tell Congress that the proposed restrictions slated for September 1 go too far and will hurt jewelry businesses.

In addition to the meetings that took place last week, JA will host its annual fly-in on September 18, 2024, offering JA members an opportunity to meet with their congressional representatives to discuss Russia and other key issues. There will also be a Multifaceted Learning Workshop held at the Army Navy Club on September 17.

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To learn more about JA’s advocacy efforts and to join Jewelers of America to get access to valuable guidance documents, visit here. For further information, contact Jewelers of America’s Member Services at (800) 223-0673 or members@jewelers.org.

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