The Antwerp diamond industry, world capital of the gem, on Monday announced an investment deal with leading Chinese bank ICBC.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) in a statement announced the deal with ICBC, which could act as an intermediary to provide finance for diamond transactions in Antwerp.
“It is the first time a Chinese bank entirely commits and decides to finance the diamond sector through Antwerp,” said AWDC chief executive Ari Epstein.
“The diamond is a special investment product and has a distinct function that other investment products cannot replace,” ICBC’s Jiang Jianqing said.
“We firmly believe that the Belgian economy through the diamond industry will play a predominant role in ending the financial crisis,” he added.
The AWDC is planning to organise from October 24 a 10-day roadshow in China to promote Antwerp to the country’s top jewellers.
Around 80 percent of the trade in uncut diamonds and half of world trade in cut stones transits through the northern Belgian town, which is facing increasing competition, including from India.
ICBC — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China — is the world’s largest bank by market value.