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Indian traders unnerved by new import rules on rough diamonds

28 may 2019

india_flag.pngThe Indian diamond trade is in a tizzy following a Mumbai Customs directive outlining new procedures for importing rough diamonds, which seek details on origin, size, shape, type, colour and clarity of the precious stones from overseas, according to a report in Economic Times recently.
The fear is that even a minute discrepancy in the norms may lead to a seizure, followed by a huge penalty, which could affect manufacturing activity in Surat, the country’s diamond cutting and polishing hub.
The Office of the Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai, had also directed the trade to furnish details of rough diamonds declared for export, to determine their value. It said that “it is also the obligation of the importer/ exporter to state these details in the bills of entry/shipping bills filed for the clearance of such goods.” 
In the note, the customs department has cited recent incidents of suspected wrong declaration of values of both imported and exported rough diamonds. It said the description of diamonds, stated in the documents filed for clearance, is often incomplete. In most cases, the goods are merely described as rough diamonds, with no other qualifying details.
Industry executives said exporters simply did not possess the details sought by customs, as rough diamonds are a run-of-the-mine natural mineral product characterised by natural, geological divergences and lack of homogeneity.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished