HONG KONG, 24th November, 2016 (WAM) — The UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair), Ahmed bin Sulayem, is in Asia to engage with key diamond industry participants in a dialogue around the global initiative regarding the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, KPCS.

The move follows a series of high-level meetings with heads of states and senior ministers across diamond producing and consuming nations in Africa and Europe. These visits also come on the back of the annual KP Plenary meeting that took place in Dubai last week.

The KP Chair met with representatives of Chow Tai Fook, including Managing Director, Kent Wong; as well as Anita Tse, Principal Trade Officer for the Trade and Industry Department and KP Focal Point in Hong Kong.

Bin Sulayem also met with Lawrence Ma, Chairman; Victor Yiu, Vice Chairman; and Lily Y.C. Chan, General Manager, of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, China Limited, as well as Alan Tam, Executive Director of the Wing Hang Diamond Company, and Dominic Wong, Honorary Treasurer of Chow Sang.

Among the topics of discussion was the valuation of rough diamonds and the role it could play in delivering fair value to source markets in Africa, as well as the chair’s proposals to set up a common fund for NGOs and to establish a Permanent United Nations Secretariat for the KP.

“Although we are now past a successful plenary, our work as KP Chair is not done,” Bin Sulayem said.

“During the time left at the helm of this vital initiative, it is essential to continue engaging more industry players in a constructive dialogue around the role they can play in enhancing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and therefore, the diamond industry as a whole. We have already managed to engage numerous governments, but diamond retailers are in a unique position to support the proposals that were discussed at the plenary and are seen by many stakeholders as vital elements for the future of the KP,” he said.

Based in China, Chow Tai Fook is the biggest jeweller group in the world, with over 2,100 stores in Hong Kong and Macau and annual sales of over $7 billion. It is also expanding internationally and already has a presence in the United States. As such, it is an influential industry stakeholder in one of the largest diamond consuming markets globally – China, which imported $1.84 billion worth of rough diamonds in 2015, and exported $1.35 billion in the same year.

Hong Kong, in particular, is also one of the most important hubs for the trade of polished diamonds globally – importing $13.2 billion worth of these stones in the first nine months of 2016.