international delegation of leaders from the diamond world held an historic meeting with the President of Panama,Ricardo Martinelli The meeting was attended by Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies (IDI) Managing Director Eli Avidar, Israeli Ambassador to Panama Yoad Magen, the Chairman of the World Diamond Council (WDC) Eli Izhakoff, and the President of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York (NYDDC) Moshe Mosbacher, NYDDC Managing Director Martin Hochbaum, and President of the Panama Diamond Exchange Erez Akerman.
During the meeting the diamond leaders brought up the need for
Panama to pass legislation enabling diamond trade and tax exemptions within
Avidar stated at the meeting that the diamond trade in South
America is currently not organized and in certain cases is problematic. He
stated that the Israeli Diamond Industry is seeking a base from which it can
expand activities to South America. Avidar said that it was imperative that
such a base must have have strict rule of law, a stable government, and a
well established local Jewish community. He said : << We are looking for the
South American equivalent of Hong Kong. We believe that Panama can serve as
an ideal base for Israeli Diamond Industry activities in South America, just
as this country acts as a free-trade zone for other products. >>
President Martinelli said that he welcomed the collaboration with
Israel in the diamond sector and said that members of the Israeli diamond
industry would be welcome guests in Panama. The president also promised that
the Panama government would take the necessary legislative steps to bring
about a bureaucracy-free diamond trade.
During the meeting the issue of Panama's need to join the
Kimberley Process was discussed, as was the need to pass legislation so that
the Panama Diamond Exchange can be granted free-trade zone status for
diamonds, as well as tax exemption of diamond exports from Panama to the rest
of South America.
Avidar presented President Ricardo Martinelli membership in the
IDI League of Honor. Membership in the League is awarded by IDI to heads of
state as a token of esteem for their efforts in enhancing their countries's
relationship with the Israeli Diamond Industry.
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