Greater interest in Indian diamond industry from South Africa

Thursday, 26 June 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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JOHANNESBURG: The South African diamond industry is expected to take a greater interest in the industry in India following a presentation here by Bakul Mehta, vice-chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

Mehta addressed a gathering of leading diamond dealers, jewellers and representatives from the South African Diamond Board here to secure mutual cooperation in a range of areas.

"I tried to enlighten the trading gem and jewellery community in South Africa about what progress the Indian gem and jewellery industry has made over the past few years and how they would benefit if they visited India," Mehta told IANS afterwards.

"Why should you go through a middleman when you can source your diamond requirements directly from India? If you have a choice, India should be your first choice."

Mehta also urged South Africans to exhibit at and visit the India International Jewellery Show taking place next month.

"This would be an opportune time for South Africans in the industry to come to India, as 600 exhibitors from seven countries will be bringing delegations to the Show," he added.

Mehta conceded that it may be too late for South Africans to exhibit at this late stage, but he was hopeful that next year would see some participation by South Africa.

"The people here were very receptive and we received a lot of enquiries about what is happening in India. We are trying to establish direct relationships between India and South Africa."

The chairman of the South African Diamond Board, Abbey Chikane, commended the Indian presentation and said there were many opportunities that could result in mutual benefit for both countries.

"I think it was a meticulous presentation by the Export Promotion Council.

"I think there is an excellent potential for South Africa and India to work very closely and to cooperate particularly in the area of diamonds and jewellery.

"I think we should, as South Africans, be able to benefit by among other things exporting diamonds to them that can be cut in India," Chikane told IANS.

He said there was also the possibility of processing diamonds in South Africa, as well as India providing training to South Africans in diamond cutting and processing.

"We believe that working with India where we are not competitive (in world markets) it is possible to partner with them. Where we are competitive, for example, in the ability to source rough diamonds from the Southern African region, India could also benefit by partnering with us."

Chikane also said it might be too late for South Africans to participate in the Indian Show, as there was a South African exhibition at around the same time.

"But this is something we need to consider seriously. The next time there is an exhibition (in India) I will be encouraging our members to participate."

Diamond dealers who listened to Mehta felt that there were good opportunities to work with the Indian industry.

Serge Glowiczower, formerly of Israel, told IANS that from thousands of professional processors in Israel a few years ago, these had dwindled to a handful.

Now based in South Africa, Glowiczower said: "India presents good opportunity because it's a big industry as a manufacturing industry. In South Africa we have a big source of rough diamonds available, but a lot of what is available here I don't believe we can produce here, because they are smaller stones that automatically increase the prices.

"Because labour is cheaper in India there is definitely the possibility for Indian companies to buy the uncut diamonds in South Africa and then manufacture this in India."

Source: IANS
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