De Beers accused of breaking EU rules

A diamond trade group says it has made a formal complaint to the European Commission, claiming that South African company De Beers is breaking EU antitrust rules by artificially limiting the supply of the gems on the market.

    De Beers controls 70% of the world's rough diamond trade

    The Belgian Polished Diamond Dealers Association said that it had asked European Union regulators to outlaw De Beers's distribution system, known as "Supplier of Choice."

    "De Beers has misled the European Commission, has abused its dominant position and has artificially limited the availability of diamonds on the market," the group said on Friday.

    De Beers controls some 70% of the world's rough diamond supplies, which are sold to 120 manufacturers and dealers at periodic sales known as "sights".

    No availability

    The trade group claimed De Beers is using obscure criteria to select traders which, in effect, denied them access to adequate quantities of diamonds.

    "Liquidity of diamonds in the market has disappeared," the association said.

    De Beers defended its distribution system and said it helped promote competition in the market.

    EU regulators closed an investigation into the De Beers system in 2003, saying it would keep a close watch on the market to make sure traders were able to receive enough rough diamonds.

    According to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, which represents the city's diamond industry, 80% of all rough diamonds are handled in Antwerp, Belgium.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.