The 2015 Presidents’ Meeting in Tel Aviv came to an end yesterday (Tuesday) with WFDB President Ernie Blom saying it had provided the opportunity for three days of intensive discussions on the main issues affecting the diamond trade globally.
“We have had three extremely useful and enjoyable days here”, said Blom at a press conference which wrapped up the Presidents Meeting. “The hosts, the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) did a fantastic job in creating a wonderful atmosphere and social events that allowed us to network and create new relationships, as well as renewing bonds with colleagues, and that is also an important element of such gatherings”.
The main themes, said Blom, centered on lack of profitability, banking and finance, synthetics and overgrading. “We have put processes in motion and a number of committees will look at them in great depth and report back with proposals for how to deal with them”, he said.
WFDB presidents, as well as their counterparts from the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, also traveled to Jerusalem yesterday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where they briefed him on the state of the diamond trade worldwide. Blom said the Israeli leader was well aware of the issues facing the diamond business.
A key element of the WJH Grand Opening is the “Latin American Diamond & Jewelry Week,” bringing together buyers from 17 Latin American countries with the members of the Panama Diamond Exchange (PDE).
“This is a historic milestone for Panama, Latin America and the international gem and jewelry trade,” said Eli Izhakoff, Chairman of the World Jewelry Hub.
Meanwhile, IDE President Shmuel Schnitzer said a great deal was accomplished during the Presidents’ Meetings. “We touched on the very serious issues confronting the industry. The most crucial part is lack of profitability. No business can last in such circumstances. We mentioned this to the diamond producers to see what they and we can do to improve the situation. We cannot go on ignoring this lack of profitability”.
“Bankability and financing was the second issue that we identified. There are banks that do not want to work with our business. This is wrong because we have a lot more transparency in the trade now. Things are changing and it’s a different trade now. The banks should draw the right conclusions. It is wrong for the banks to leave the industry. We also had lengthy discussions about the issue of overgrading and the recent color treated diamonds discovered by the GIA in Israel, and also debated the issue of price lists and how we can bring about consultation regarding changes in the Rap List”, Schnitzer added.