On the sidelines of the KP Plenary session, Russia and Belgium signed a memorandum of understanding on the electronic exchange of the Kimberley Process (KP) Certificates. The MOU was signed by Marc Michielsen, Belgian Ambassador in Moscow and Vladimir Bulavin, Head of the Federal Customs Service of Russia. In addition, the signing was attended by Alexey V. Moiseev, Russian Vice Minister of Finance, and the Federal Public Service Economy of Belgium, represented by Belgian Ambassador Michielsen.
In 2020, Russian diamond exports to Belgium/Antwerp equaled 51% of the total volume of exported gems. Antwerp is responsible for over 95% of the import and export operations of the EU, represented by a single delegation in the KP.
Mr. Bulavin emphasized the good bilateral cooperation between Russia and Belgium with regard to information exchange and mutual assistance. The signing of this MoU marks the first step in a long process of digitalization which is the fundament of international cooperation in the future. The fact that it is an MoU about the diamond industry is not surprising, as Antwerp is the most important diamond trading center and Russia is one of the most important diamond-producing countries worldwide.
According to the Russian Ministry of Finance, this memorandum will accelerate the trade of diamonds between diamond traders by allowing for a prompt receipt of statistics on the import and export of diamonds and automation of data processing.
“The transition to a digital exchange of KP Certificates, issued on paper right now, will simplify and speed up the procedures for their issuance. In addition, digital documents are the key to the legitimacy of each shipment of diamonds. Russia has always advocated the promotion of the principles of openness in the global diamond trade,” commented Alexey V. Moiseev.