Diamond Beneficiation and the WTO

Mauritius - 23 November 2012

This paper considers the economics and trade law implications of diamond beneficiation in Botswana and, by extension, thoughout the SADC region. It explains the shift in policy and market position of De Beers which has moved from strident opponent to supporter of beneficiation in Africa. It is argued that the current provisions of sightholder access to rough diamonds may not be WTO compatible and that the use of export taxes, a WTO compatible alternative may not be EPA comaptible. An estimate of the ‘implicit beneficiation tax’ imposed on Botswana based processors is determined.