Hong Kong Commerce, Industry & Technology Bureau has proposed simplifying the registration requirement for rough diamond traders and cutting the registration and licensing fees in Hong Kong on March 10, 2006. According to a government press release the bureau would make the changes under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, negotiating forum originating in the United Nations discussions regarding rebel activities in some parts of Africa.
It seeks to stop trade in conflict diamonds from fueling armed conflicts, rebel movements activities and the illicit arms proliferation. The scheme was launched on January 1, 2003. The bureau has reviewed the schemes implementation in Hong Kong to facilitate the trade while maintaining the control systems integrity. Any person in the business of importing, exporting, buying, selling or carrying rough diamonds is now required to register as a trader with the Director-General of Trade & Industry.
The bureau announced that the registration requirement on the "carrying" of rough diamonds by an owner of a vessel, aircraft or vehicle as defined in the Import & Export Ordinance has been reviewed. The obligations imposed on an owner under the ordinance should enable the effective monitoring of rough diamonds into and out of Hong Kong for the purpose of the Kimberley Process. The bureau said there is no overriding need for a trader registration requirement on an owner who is also a carrier, and it proposes to lift this requirement, saving the owner from incurring compliance costs.
The current registration and renewal fees for rough diamond traders and for issue of Kimberly Process Import & Export Licenses were first introduced in 2003. After a costing review, the bureau will cut all the fees to their full cost-recovery level. The import & Export (General) (Amendment) Regulation 2006 were gazetted on March 10, 2006 and will be tabled in the Legislative Council on March 15.