Diamond import ban from Russia will hit Antwerp hard

With Western nations poised to hit Russia with a new round of international sanctions, Belgium’s lucrative involvement with the diamond trade is again coming under scrutiny, with suggestions that the country could crack down on the imports to apply more pressure on the aggressor state.

The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have all imposed an embargo on the import of Russian stones but as yet, the EU has not followed suit. Belgium’s Federal Government has been accused of working behind the scenes to protect the profitable sector that centres in Antwerp. But ministers are now considering a tougher stance towards Russia whilst putting protections in place to minimise damage to its local economy.

The news comes as the EU revealed that it is working on its 11th set of sanctions on Russia after the heads of state and government of the G7 countries met in Hiroshima last week and announced new measures intended to “deprive Russia of the technologies, industrial equipment and services of the G7 that support its war enterprise.”

The issue of diamond embargoes is a sensitive one in Belgium as the sector provides some 30,000 jobs, including 6,000 – 7,000 direct jobs on Belgian soil. Industry insiders fear that a Belgian or European embargo could lead to around 25 major market players leaving Antwerp, putting thousands of jobs – and the local economy as a whole – at risk.

The author: Michel THEYS

Michel Theys, a Belgian native, began his career as a civil servant, serving the public for several decades. After retirement, he shifted gears to follow his passion for journalism. With a background in public administration, Theys brought a unique perspective to his reporting. His insightful articles, covering a wide array of topics, swiftly gained recognition. Today, Michel Theys is a respected journalist known for his balanced and thoughtful reporting in the Belgian media landscape.

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