US customs crackdown on Marange diamonds

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued a Withhold Release Orders (WROs) on five different products, including gold mined by the ASM from Congo (DRC) and rough diamonds from Marange in Zimbabwe which joined the Kimberley Process in 2003.

They indicated that they will prevent entry of these minerals into the US soil as they consider extracted by forced labor. s means that if CBP’s suspects that a product is made using forced , they will take that product off U.S. shelves.

A while ago, the Blue Nile, a top US jeweler, said that they ensure high ethical standards in sourcing and diamonds and maintained that they won’t purchase diamonds from the Marange diamond district.

A major part of CBP’s mission is facilitating legitimate trade and travel

Acting CBP Commissioner – Mark Morgan

They received allegations of forced labor from a variety of sources and also from the general public. CPB  said that they will conduct investigations into the use of labor in any given supply chain by continuing to work extensively with stakeholders, the media fraternity, private sector businesses to gather inclusive and complete information in global supply chains and educate US importers on compliance standards.

Former president Mugabe nationalized the Marange diamond mines that are now run by the Zimbabwe Diamond Consolidated Company in 2016. Between 2009 and 2016, Chinese and South African companies mined the diamonds in partnership with the government. The European Union recently lifted sanctions on Marange diamonds while the US still hold sanctions for the Zimbabwe state-run diamond company.

Zimbabwe rejected this move to curb imports of Marange diamonds, calling the claim of forced labor at the operations ‘a shameless lie’

Other products listed by the CBP include:

  • Garments produced by Hetian Taida Apparel Co., Ltd. in Xinjiang, China – produced with prison or forced labor.
  • Disposable rubber gloves produced in Malaysia by WRP Asia Pacific Sdn. Bhd – produced with forced labor.
  • Bone black manufactured in Brazil by Bonechar Carvão Ativado Do Brasil Ltda – produced with forced labor.

Image courtesy: The Zimbabwean

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