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World Diamond Congress Off To a Flying Start

May 17 2016

DMCC, one of the world’s leading commodity hubs for trade and enterprise, opened the 37th World Diamond Congress, the biennial meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), at Almas Tower today with over 200 global industry leaders in attendance.

During his welcome address, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of DMCC and Kimberley Process Chair, said:

“We often say that our city has a pivotal location between east and west. The important global events here this month show that diamonds are particularly big on the agenda with today’s opening of the World Diamond Congress and the Kimberley Process Intersessional meetings next week. The fact that the world’s industry leaders are taking part in these conferences also show that we are united in our pursuit of industry excellence.”

In his opening speech, Ernie Blom, President, WFDB, said:

“I would like to emphasise the importance of the themes of our Congress: Transparency, Responsibility and Sustainability. These themes run through all the challenges that we are facing as a global industry and also show us the way forward. They will be at the heart of all our discussions and debates here. As an anonymous businessman once said: "The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability."

Speaking of consumer confidence, importance of collaboration throughout the supply chain and the topic of transparency around synthetic diamonds entering the market, Ronnie VanderLinden, Secretary General, IDMA, said:

“We ask the synthetic diamond business community to act responsibly and help protect the diamond, gem and jewellery industry and trade. I also call on all industry members to come down from the sidelines and actively support the World Diamond Mark’s in its work, together with the retail jewellery industry, in advancing generic diamond promotion and advertising projects, aimed at the consumer.

“Working hand in hand with the producers, and with the Diamond Producers Association, we must all contribute, cooperate and do all we can to maintain and strengthen consumer confidence in natural diamonds, for the benefit of the entire diamond supply pipeline. After all, the consumers' desire and confidence in diamonds and diamond jewellery form the backbone of our industry.”

Peter Meeus, Chairman, Dubai Diamond Exchange, spoke of Dubai’s rapid emergence as one of the world’s top 3 diamond hubs and the global shift in the flow of trade:

“Understanding the impact of the global changes is not always easy. It often requires taking a distance and a bird’s-eye-view on a particular situation. We are gathered here in Dubai as the global diamond industry is going through a historic transformation. The centre of gravity of the world is shifting significantly eastward. The traditional balance of power is changing and the diamond world is no exception to this general trend.

“We believe in mutual cooperation. In ways we can complement each other by facilitating trade globally, by creating a playing field that is business friendly - where everybody has its role to play in an ever changing world. This is how we will overcome today's challenges.”

The Congress, taking place from May 16 to 19, addresses the topics of 'Transparency, Responsibility, Sustainability. The opening day concluded with a Dubai Diamond Finance Seminar, the second of a series held by the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) on financing options and how Dubai’s trade infrastructure and financial institutions can further support the diamond trade. Panelist were: Rajiv Jain, Head United Arab Emirates Diamond & Jewellery Clients, ABN-Amro; Biju Patnaik, Head – Gem & Jewellery Segment, IndusInd Bank Limited; Davy Blommaert, Unit Head for Precious Metals and Diamonds, National Bank of Fujaira and Alain Vandenborre, Executive Chairman & Founder, SDiX.

The second day will open with a major session on financing for the global diamond and jewellery industry as well as the need for financial transparency. Speeches will be followed by a panel session including Howard Davies and Feriel Zerouki of De Beers, David Bouffard from Signet Jewelers Ltd, and Mahesh Khemlani, President of the Panama Diamond Exchange. The rest of the day will be taken up with working sessions of the WFDB and IDMA before the Congress Gala Dinner.

The final day of the Congress will feature a panel session entitled 'Transparency, Responsibility, Sustainability in Producing Countries' featuring several guest panelists. The Congress will end with a press conference where Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC; Ernie Blom, President, WFDB; Maxim Shkadov, President, IDMA and Peter Meeus, Chairman, Dubai Diamond Exchange, will present their views on the major issues of the meetings and will answer questions from the media.

For further information visit http://diamondcongress2016.com