Israeli link to boost India, Russia diamond trade

23 November 2016 Natalya Rudakova, RIR
The just-concluded state visit by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to India may have had an unexpected, positive outcome, to boost the diamond trade between Russia and India. Israeli technology, being tested by India, could help standardise the grading of diamonds.
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India is testing the Israeli machine that can revolutionize the way polished diamonds are graded. Source:Press photo

India’s ties with Israel have been quietly growing since they developed diplomatic relations among themselves 25 years ago. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin just concluded a visit to India to bolster bilateral ties and trade, with an unexpected outcome, to boost Indio-Russian trade.

An Israeli company has developed technology which can ensure a standardised process of grading polished diamonds. Since diamonds are set to play a major role in boosting Indo-Russian trade figures, this standardisation could infuse the much-required trust in the India-Russia diamond trade.

The Israeli technology, currently being tested out, could impart the glitter required to raise their cooperation in diamonds, personally chaperoned by Russian President Valdimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi from 2014.

India is testing the Israeli machine that can revolutionize the way polished diamonds are graded. The company is keen on the Indian market because bulk of the Israel’s traditional diamond-polishing business has moved here.

“The technology will revolutionize the way the diamond industry and consumers perceive clarity grading and transform the polished sourcing and sorting process,” Uzi Levami, the company’s chief executive officer told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

The technology is likely to be marketed in mid-2017 by Sarine Technologies from Israel, which has one office located in Surat, in the western state of Gujarat. Surat is emerging as one of the world’s major diamond polishing hubs, while another is in Mumbai, India’s financial capital. India is the world’s largest diamond polishing hub.

India, also the world’s largest importer of diamonds, has been elected Vice Chair for 2018 and Chair for 2019 of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, a process designed in 2003 to prevent “conflict diamonds” from entering the mainstream rough diamond market.

While India is the largest diamond importer, Russia is the world’s largest diamond exporter, according to the recently published annual report of Kimberley Process.

Trade in diamonds will play an important role in increasing India- Russia trade to the targeted $30 billion in bilateral trade by 2025, envisaged by the leaders.

Russian gemstones now come to India through intermediaries, and not directly. There have been some bilateral efforts to step up trade. Alrosa, the Russian diamond company, has increased its share of direct deliveries to India, and the company has posted a profit, boosted by a 91 percent rise in revenue from Belgium and an 81 percent increase from India.

A special customs zone was created in India in 2015, in the Mumbai Diamond Bourse, to facilitate direct diamond imports from Russia. India is trying to further develop the zone to upgrade its rough diamond auctioning mechanism. Russia is the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds and exports diamonds worth 4.24 billion US dollars each year.

India will soon enact regulation to end the role of intermediaries in the import of rough diamonds from Russia. According to media reports, Indian Commerce Ministry sources have said that new regulations would relax the restrictive taxation and customs procedure to which Indians have to adhere when importing rough diamonds.

Both the Indian Prime Minister and the Russian President, keen to improve the ease of doing business in their countries, discussed the diamond trade issue during their bilateral summit meeting in Goa in October.

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