IDE Presents Need for Increased Government Support at Knesset Committee
A delegation from the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE), led by President Yoram Dvash, presented its case for increased government aid to the Israeli diamond industry at a special hearing at the Knesset Economics Committee today. According to IDE President Yoram Dvash the industry has suffered major damage in recent months due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has nearly shut down all diamond markets in Asia and the U.S.
The Economics Committee convened today for a special meeting on the state of the diamond industry in Israel due to the coronavirus crisis. Committee Chairman Rabbi Yaakov Margi said at the session that the Israeli diamond industry is a leading export industry in Israel which has been dramatically affected by the pandemic. “When a major industry is hurt so hard, the state must intervene and provide the necessary aid,” he said.
Yoram Dvash said, “The diamond industry has been a significant growth engine for the Israeli economy for over eight decades. To ensure the continued success of our industry, we propose to take advantage of our status as a leading diamond center and to establish an international diamond trading area in Israel with the support of the Ministry of Economy.”
Israel Diamond Controller Ofir Gur said, “A free trade area in the diamond exchange complex can be an excellent idea, and our intention at the Ministry of the Economy is to begin discussions on the subject immediately in order to put it into motion.”
Chairman Margi summed up the discussion and called on “The Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Finance to work together to formulate concrete steps to expand financial assistance and to create a specific plan suited to the needs of the diamond exchange, including a dedicated credit program, and to work toward establishing a free trade area in the diamond exchange complex in Ramat Gan.”
At the end of the session, the Economic Committee released the following statement: The committee believes that in view of the severe crisis and the danger to the continued existence of the industry, the government must provide unique and dedicated solutions on several levels:
– The committee recommends that the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance, together with the Tax Authority and other bodies, establish an international free trade area in the diamond exchange complex that will allow companies from abroad to open offices in Israel and engage in diamond trading in Israel.
– The committee recommends that the Ministry of Finance provide assistance suited to the needs of the specific industry.
– The committee recommends that the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance work together with a representative of the diamond exchange to ensure that the state’s guaranteed loan fund be adjusted to meet the needs of the industry.