Belgium’s import of diamonds from Russia spiked in January by a remarkable 36 per cent despite heated political discussion around economic sanctions within the European Union.
Belgium’s import of rough diamonds from Russia reached €EU132 million ($AU211.8 million) in January, compared with just €EU97 million ($AU155.6) in 2022 – just weeks before the invasion of Ukraine.
In late February the US and EU installed a tenth round of economic sanctions against Russia as a punitive response to the invasion; however, the diamond industry was once again spared.
According to recent reporting, Russian diamond sales in Europe increased following the invasion of Ukraine, despite retaliatory economic sanctions from western powers.
“The Belgian government argues such sanctions would only divert Russia’s diamond exports to other countries without actually causing Moscow economic pain. Belgian diplomats also pointed out that Russian imports were going down even without sanctions, because of public pressure and consumer awareness,” writes Barbara Moens of Politico.
“However, imports to Belgium rose again in December and January in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day on 14 February. However, this looks like a temporary spike linked to higher demand around Valentine’s Day, according to a Belgian official. In February, the import value dropped again to €61 million ($AU97.9 million).”
The Belgian Foreign Trade Agency reported that total exports from Russia increased by more than two-thirds during January; however, these figures were significantly impacted by increases in the price of gas.
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