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WFDB Re-Elects Ernie Blom, Debates Industry Challenges at 37th World Diamond Congress

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(Press Release)
ANTWERP, BELGIUM – The World Federation of Diamond Bourses’ (WFDB)
presidents and bourse members worked through a packed agenda at the 37th World
Diamond Congress last week, discussing a wide range of issues directly affecting their
members at the 30 affiliated diamond bourses across the globe. WFDB President Ernie
Blom was unanimously elected for a third consecutive two-year term, and Israel
Diamond Exchange President Yoram Dvash was elected as vice president.

Blom said he was delighted with the debates and decisions taken in Dubai at the
biennial meeting of the WFDB and International Diamond Manufacturers Association
(IDMA). The three-day Congress provided the approximately 200 delegates with the
opportunity to discuss at length the issues affecting the global diamond sector under the
theme of “Transparency, Responsibility, Sustainability,” he commented.

"I have attended many Congresses, and this was definitely up there among the top
events," says Blom. "There was an excellent atmosphere and a positive feeling that
change for the better is happening after a difficult past year. This was seen in the very
high level of attendance, with every session being full. I was delighted with the deep
level of commitment and seriousness. The delegates are very concerned with the state
of the industry and were determined to debate issues fully. This enabled us to make
decisions based on a full airing of the views of our members.”

On the agenda were the challenges of financing, price lists, synthetics, the policy of
producers, supply chains and traceability, anti-money laundering, transparency in
business, tenders, as well as other issues.

Among the major steps taken by the WFDB was the creation of an international Young
Diamantaires group. To this end, a group of younger members of diamond firms from the main diamond center – including Israel, India, Belgium, the U.S., South Africa and Australia – will communicate on a regular basis. The aim is to provide mutual encouragement regarding the challenge of leading the diamond industry into the future, as well as a platform for the discussion of relevant issues for the mutual benefit of members.

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Underlying all the discussions, both formal and informal, was the clear understanding
that the global diamond sector has to further increase the transparency of its operations
and the integrity of the global diamond supply chain in order to maintain consumer
confidence in diamonds and jewelry. However, members stressed that the diamond
trade works according to the highest levels of industry self-regulation and that it should
be proud of its achievements.

Blom explains: "We have a huge amount of which we can be proud. I stressed that rather than being on the defensive, we should rather go on the offensive in showing our deep commitment to working transparently. How many other industries have taken the steps that the diamond industry has taken over the last 15 years to prove its commitment to making its operations visible to all and with a concern for the people who mine those diamonds in difficult conditions? The answer is very few, if any.

"Our members work according to wide-ranging rules and regulations that ensure that
diamonds are totally free of any possible suspicion, including U.N. resolutions, the
Kimberley Process national legislation, anti-money laundering regulations, Know Your
Customer programs, and the WFDB Code of Conduct and chain of warranties
requirements. The Federation’s members do not currently endorse any private initiative,
but we would like to put on record that we respect the right of all individual diamond
companies to make agreements and implement protocols with other parties as they see
fit, and that, together with the WFDB’s rules and regulations that our members
stringently follow, we are striving to guarantee a transparent supply chain. Furthermore,
the WFDB is in ongoing communication with its affiliated diamond bourses to implement and enforce all relevant rules and regulations.”

The next WFDB and IDMA Presidents Meeting in 2017 will be hosted by the Bharat
Diamond Bourse, while the 38th World Diamond Congress in 2018 will be hosted by the
Israel Diamond Exchange.

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