WTO Members Approve Waiver for Kimberly Process on “Blood Diamonds”

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Sunday, June 1, 2003
Bruce Zagaris
On Feruary 26, 2003, World Trade Organization members approved in principle a waiver from WTO rules for an international accord directed at eliminating trade in “conflict” or “blood” diamonds. On February 26, 2003, the WTO’s Good Council approved the waiver for Kimberly Process Certification Scheme for Rough Diamonds. The U.S. Government and nine other signatory countries to the accord made the request. Under the Kimberly Accord the participants must ensure that a certificate accompanies each export shipment of rough diamonds attesting that the diamonds at issue are not conflict diamonds. The accord defines conflict diamonds as rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments, as described in relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. The waiver excepts measures implemented by countries participating in the Kimberly Accord to forbid the export of rough diamonds to non-participants form WTO trade rules.