Belgium’s imports of Russian diamonds in January rose by 36 per cent year-on-year, according to the government-run Belgian Foreign Trade Agency (BFTA).
Rough imports were â‚¬132m ($141m) in January 2023, compared with â‚¬97m ($104m) in January 2022, just before Russia invaded Ukraine.
The US imposed sanctions on Russian diamonds but the 27 EU nations did not, and Belgium has repeatedly warned that they would harm its own economy far more than Russia’s.
Diamond imports rose, but those of gold and other precious metals fell by 23 per cent, mainly as a result a global slowdown in jewelry demand.
Figures provided by BFTA to the De Morgen newspaper showed Belgium’s total imports from Russia during 2022 surged by more than two thirds to a record â‚¬12.8bn ($13.7bn), largely due to increases in the price of gas.
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