Ahmed Bin Sulayem meets with Chow Tai Fook to continue dialogue with industry participants on sustainability in diamond industry
Following a series of high-level visits with heads of states and senior ministers across diamond producing and consuming nations in Africa and Europe, the UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair), Ahmed Bin Sulayem, has traveled to Asia to engage key diamond industry participants in a dialogue around the global initiative. These visits take place on the back of the annual KP Plenary meeting that took place in Dubai last week.
The KP Chair met with representatives of Chow Tai Fook, including Managing Director, Kent Wong; as well as Anita Tse, Principal Trade Officer for the Trade & Industry Department and KP Focal Point in Hong Kong. Mr. Bin Sulayem also met with Lawrence Ma, Chairman; Victor Yiu, Vice Chairman; and Lily Y.C. Chan, General Manager, of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China Limited; as well as Alan Tam, Executive Director of the Wing Hang Diamond Company, and Dominic Wong, Honorary Treasurer of Chow Sang Sang. Among the topics of discussion was rough diamond valuation and the role that it could play in delivering fair value to source markets in Africa, as well as the Chair’s proposals to set up a common fund for NGOs and to establish a Permanent UN Secretariat for the KP.
“Although we are now past a successful Plenary, our work as KP Chair is not done,” said Mr. Bin Sulayem. “During the time left at the helm of this vital initiative, it is essential to continue engaging more industry players in a constructive dialogue around the role they can play in enhancing the KPCS, and therefore, the diamond industry as a whole. We have already managed to engage numerous governments, but diamond retailers are in a unique position to support the proposals that were discussed at the Plenary and are seen by many stakeholders as vital elements for the future of the KP.”
Based in China, Chow Tai Fook is the biggest jeweler group in the world, with over 2,100 stores in Hong Kong and Macau and annual sales of over $7 billion. It is also expanding internationally and already has a presence in the US. As such, it is an influential industry stakeholder in one of the largest diamond consuming markets globally; China, which imported $1.84 billion worth of rough diamonds in 2015, and exported $1.35 billion in the same year. Hong Kong, in particular, is also one of the most important hubs for the trade of polished diamonds globally - importing $13.2 billion worth of these stones in the first nine months of 2016.
“Given Chow Tai Fook and China’s scale and global importance in the industry, they play a vital role in supporting discussions around traceability and are at the forefront of driving marketing campaigns to ensure consumer trust in the integrity of the supply chain. Furthermore, with Hong Kong being the center of the jewelry industry due to the world-class infrastructure and globally renowned retailers here, its model serves as an example for other cities aspiring to become hubs in this sector and the policies adopted here can significantly influence those in other markets,” said Mr. Bin Sulayem. “CTF currently does not have a presence in the MENA region, and I would be delighted to help them find a retail location, and establish in Dubai.”
“Initiatives around rough diamond valuation could further contribute to global transparency, especially as these retailers are looking to work more closely with mining companies in the years to come. This will ultimately help strengthen the entire diamond supply chain and allow African miners to get a fair share of their mineral resources.”
Following this visit, Mr. Bin Sulayem will travel to Japan to continue raising awareness and discuss topics related to KPCS.