Indian gems, jewellery exports to touch $17.5 B

Monday, 18 October 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India's gems and jewellery sector is looking forward to substantially higher exports worth around $17.5 billion this year, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said here Monday.

"Export trends in the first half of the year indicate we could achieve 800 billion ($17.5 billion) worth exports in the gems and jewellery sector this year," Kamal Nath told reporters after inaugurating the third Festival of Gold organised here by state-owned Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation Ltd (MMTC).

"We are going to have at least 28 percent growth. We are seeing very good growth every month. I see this as an area of strength for India," said the minister, highlighting the country's strength in manufacturing, especially in the area of diamond cutting and polishing.

The largest Indian bullion trader, MMTC, has this year brought together representatives from all the important gems and jewellery hubs in India including Jaipur, Mumbai, Goa and Delhi to highlight their distinct designs and craftsmanship under one roof.

The highlight of the weeklong show is the promotion of hallmarked gold and silver products along with facility for free testing of coloured gems and precious stones and an astrologer to advise on birthstones.

During 2003-04, India's gems and jewellery exports crossed $12 billion (556.84 billion) worth of sales, diamonds alone accounting for $8.63 billion (395.5 billion), said Surinder Singh, deputy director of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

"In the first six months of the current fiscal, India's gems and jewellery sector recorded 40 percent increase in exports over the corresponding period last year," Singh told IANS.

The industry is optimistic of sustaining the export growth in the remaining half of the year with gold and diamond jewellery being seen as a good investment.

To achieve the target, GJEPC has been holding shows overseas to showcase India's expertise and design. Earlier this month, the industry had organised a very successful show at Bahrain and is planning another in the United Arab Emirates in December.

"During February-March a delegation had gone to six West Asian and African nations to promote Indian craftsmanship and source rough diamonds directly from African mines. So far we have not been able to achieve any breakthrough either in Africa or in Russia, which is another good source of rough diamonds," said Singh.

According to Singh, direct sourcing of rough diamonds would mean a saving of 15-20 percent for India, which accounts for nine out of 10 cut and polished diamonds traded globally.

The industry wants the government to follow up its efforts in seeking support from countries like Namibia, South Africa and Ghana to source uncut and bigger diamonds directly from the mines.

Source: IANS
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