x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Q&A with Peter Meeus, the chairman of the Dubai Diamond Exchange

From humble beginnings, Dubai has made a steady rise to top three status

q How important is Dubai to the global diamond trade?

a Dubai is a fairly new player in the global diamond business.

The entire UAE as a country is just 41 years old and back in 2001, Dubai's diamond trade was virtually non-existent, worth less than US$5 million [Dh18.3m]. In just a decade however, the trade was worth almost $40bn. Dubai's rise as a diamond trading centre has been phenomenal in terms of both rough and polished trade. Today, it is one of the top three diamond trading centres in the world.

q Who are the biggest buyers of diamonds in the world?

a All the largest and most renowned wholesale diamond traders in the world have offices in Almas Tower.

This includes Rosy Blue, the world's number one wholesale diamond trader, as well as Diamdel, the dealing arm of the DTC, Diarough, Dimexon, SBMH, Supergems and Diarush among many others.

q How important is Africa to the global diamond trade?

a Africa is extremely significant within the global diamond trade, as it represents approximately 65 per cent of the world diamond production in carats.

q What is a blood diamond?

a A blood diamond, or conflict diamond, is a diamond that has been mined in a conflict zone, or used to finance conflict.

q What is the Kimberley Process?

a The Kimberley Process is an initiative between governments, the world's diamond industry and civil society to combat the flow of conflict diamonds. In the year 2000, the flow of conflict diamonds was believed to be between 3 and 5 per cent of the annual world production. Today, the amount of conflict diamonds is believed to be far below 1 per cent for a number of reasons, primarily because most conflicts in African diamond-producing countries have come to an end and also due to initiatives such as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. In simple terms, barely any conflict diamonds exist in the market today.

q What part did Dubai play in the creation of the Kimberly Process?

a The Kimberley Process itself was created prior to the establishment of DMCC. I was personally involved in the creation of the Kimberley Process during my time as the CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. DMCC, together with the UAE Ministry of Economy, were solely responsible for the creation of the UAE Kimberley Process office in 2003. As a result, the UAE was the first Arab country to introduce this process, and the DMCC is the only entry and exit point for rough diamonds in the country. The creation of the UAE KP Office was a major milestone in Dubai's diamond trade as it transformed Dubai into a regulated trading centre.