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UAE Government Taskforce Reaffirms Commitment to the Kimberley Process

April 27 2017

Continues to build on strong foundation delivered in 2016 by the UAE KP Chair

The UAE continues its deep commitment and involvement in the Kimberley Process (KP), following its successful tenure as KP Chair in 2016, as it brought UAE Kimberley Process Taskforce (‘Taskforce’) members to DMCC’s headquarters, Almas Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

Set up as a joint initiative between the Ministry of Economy and DMCC, the aim of the Taskforce is to support and reinforce multilateral cooperation regarding the import, export, and transit of rough diamonds in line with KP requirements, and to review, implement and collaborate on new initiatives that benefit the KP Certification Scheme (KPCS) as part of the UAE’s ongoing efforts to enhance its world-class infrastructure and internationally recognised efforts to stem the flow of conflict diamonds globally.

Maryam Al Hashemi leads the KPCS in her capacity as 2017 Chair of the Committee of Participation and Chairmanship (CPC) of the Kimberley Process and the Director of the UAE KP Office.

This month’s meeting chaired by Maryam Al Hashemi, was attended by Hind AlYouha, Director of Foreign Trade Policies at the UAE Ministry of Economy; Omar Al Neyadi, Head of the International Governmental Organizations Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; AbdulRahman Al Ali, Major and A Member of the Legal Council at the UAE Ministry of Interior; Suoud Al Agroobi, Director of International Relations for the UAE Federal Customs Authority; Amal Al Sharhan, Manager, Cross UAE Authorities Anti-Money Laundering & Suspicious Cases Unit, Dubai, UAE Central Bank; and Juma Ghabish, Advisor, Government Relations, DMCC.

The Key focus areas being pursued by taskforce entities were to regularly exchange information regarding KP implementation and enforcement with the Customs Authorities and the UAE Ministry of Interior being the law enforcement agency at a federal level, to cooperate with international law enforcement officials and UN Panels of Experts on diamond-related investigations through the diplomatic channels of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to receive updates on topics like Anti Money Laundering and Suspicious cases from the UAE Central Bank.

Discussions touched on the important role that the UAE CPC Chairmanship is playing a key role in facilitating Mozambique and Gabon’s admission into the KPCS, while offering technical assistance to African countries regarding KP standards and diamond valuation. The Committee also explored how the UAE KP Office can potentially enhance auditing processes in line with international benchmarks. The session concluded with an awareness presentation by Amal Al Sharhan on UAE’s Strategy to evaluate the system of combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.

Commenting on the UAE KP Taskforce meeting, Maryam Al Hashemi, said, “We are grateful for those who attended this meeting. Members of the UAE KP Taskforce come from the government and federal authorities, which always ensures a lively, constructive debate on the issues and initiatives put forward for discussion. The focus of our purpose remains safeguarding the trade from the flow of conflict diamond.”

"The Federal Customs Authority works closely with its partners to facilitate trade and protect society. The cooperation with the UAE Kimberley Process Office and other agencies is vital to ensure that the diamond trade continues to be in line with the Kimberley Process especially as the UAE is now playing a major role in the rough diamond trade”, said Suoud Al Agroobi, Director of International Relations for the UAE Federal Customs Authority.

As a leading regional and international trading hub, Dubai saw non-oil foreign trade amounting to AED 1.276 trillion, according to latest official numbers for the full year 2016. In particular, the diamond trade was worth AED 97 billion or 7.6% of the total value, while the jewelry trade added to AED 63 billion (4.9%). To support this growth in a responsible manner, the UAE government has been rolling out key initiatives on both an infrastructure and a legal framework level.

The UAE KP Review Visit in 2015 acknowledged the significant progress that the UAE government has made towards taking actionable steps and cooperating with the international community to strengthen the KP mandate. In fact, DMCC through its KPCS offices act as the only entry and exit points for rough diamonds in the country, thus ensuring advanced levels of control and scrutiny. Also, being the regulatory and licensing authority for the Dubai Diamond Exchange, it issues regulations for the dealers further increasing transparency. As another added step, all UAE KP Office registered companies are screened by the DMCC’s Compliance Department to ensure identification of high risk and that the appropriate actions are taken to prevent illicit diamonds from entering the supply chain.