Canada and its G7 partners are banning the direct import of Russian diamonds, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced Wednesday.
The ban, which includes diamonds and diamond jewelry-related products, comes after G7 leaders announced a commitment in May to reduce the revenues that Russia extracts from the export of non-industrial diamonds mined, processed or produced in the country.
Reducing Russia’s revenue from the diamond industry ensures that proceeds from the export of Russian diamonds will “not contribute to financing conflict,” a press release announcing the move said.
“The implementation of this ban, in collaboration with our G7 partners, sends a clear message to Russia: We will not tolerate the use of Russia’s diamond revenues to finance war,” Joly says in the release.
“We call on President Putin to immediately put an end to this unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine, and we will continue to stand by Ukrainians for as long as it takes,” she says.
Russia is the largest rough diamond producer in the world.
The value of its total exports in 2022 sits at around CAD$5.2 billion. Canadian imports of the Russian diamonds totalled $4.1 million in 2021, the press release says.
All G7 countries represent 70 per cent of the world diamond market, it says.
“Our steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine’s fight for its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity will never waver,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says in a G7 Leaders’ Statement Wednesday.
The import restrictions will be imposed by January 1, 2024, and will be followed by “further phased restrictions on the import of Russian diamonds processed in third countries” by March 1 that same year, the statement says.
“To further the effectiveness of these measures, those G7 members who are major importers of rough diamonds will establish a robust traceability-based verification and certification mechanism for rough diamonds within the G7 by September 1 2024,” it says.
Canada suspended its bilateral co-operation with Russia after the country’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and imposed sanctions on Russia’s state-owned diamond conglomerate, Alrosa, in 2022.
It also imposed a 35 per cent tariff on all Russian imports to Canada.