A call for a levy on all rough diamond sales by miners to fund global generic diamond promotions was made at the 35th World Diamond Congress in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The call came on the second day of the congress, after a presentation by a former head of consumer marketing of De Beers India Vijay Ramchandran. In the panel discussion that followed, Sanjay Kothari, former Chairman of the Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), said the key was to ensure there is a big enough financial war chest to carry out any promotion plans.

He suggested that the large mining companies pay a levy on all rough diamond sales they made. The levy was a fraction of a percent of the sale price. The GJEPC had imposed a levy on all polished diamond exports from India to fund its domestic promotional campaign, he said.

Fellow panelist Nirupa Bhatt, who previously managed India affairs for Rio Tinto Diamonds, said that when Rio sold through De Beers, the latter charged it a percentage of its earnings towards funding diamond promotions.

International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) Vice President Vasant Mehta observed that during the attempted formation of the International Diamond Board (IDB) to manage promotions, a similar levy was found to be the only possible solution.

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