Following a series of high-level visits with heads of states and senior ministers in diamond producing and consuming nations in Africa and Europe, KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem has travelled to Asia to engage key diamond industry participants in a dialogue on global initiatives.
The visits took place following the annual KP Plenary meeting 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.
He also met with Diamond Federation of Hong Kong Chairman Lawrence Ma, Vice Chairman Victor Yiu, and General Manager Lily Y.C. Chan, 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 discussed were rough diamond valuation and the role that it could play in delivering fair value to source markets in Africa, and 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 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 jewelry 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 has a presence in the US. As such, it is an influential industry stakeholder in one of the largest diamond consuming markets globally, according to the statement. China imported $1.84 billion of rough diamonds in 2015, and exported $1.35 billion worth. Hong Kong is one of the most important polished diamond hubs, importing $13.2 billion worth 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," said Bin Sulayem. "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.
“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,” Bin Sulayem added.
Following the visit, he will travel to Japan to continue talks on topics related to the KPCS.