India took a major step toward expanding trade with Pakistan
during a recent visit to that country by a delegation from India’s Gem and
Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). They were accompanied by India’s
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on a trip organized by the
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The Indian
representatives met with their Pakistani counterparts as part of the India Show
held in Lahore, Pakistan, from February 11 to 13, 2012. A similar show is now
being planned for Dubai.
Despite their political differences in the past, India and
Pakistan are working to establish trade relationships and agreements that would
be mutually beneficial to both countries’ diamond industries. Rajiv Jain,
chairman of GJEPC, explained, “The Indian gems and jewelry industry market is
estimated to be worth $20 billion and the Pakistan market is estimated to be
around $10 billion.” As a result of the trade expansion efforts, India is
expecting to receive from Pakistan “most-favored-nation (MFN)” status in terms
of trade and commerce. “We believe it is the right time to break all trade
barriers and sign free trade agreements to further expand our bilateral trade,”
Also encouraging foreign trade, four Indian diamantaries
from leading diamond companies have been appointed honorary consul generals in
four countries. They are: Rosy Blue’s Harshad Mehta for Armenia, Shrenuj’s
Vishal Doshi for Botswana, Shrenuj’s Shreyas Doshi for Finland and Karp Impex’s
Kishore Virani for Lesotho. The honors are considered important because the
Indian diamond industry is hoping to tap the rough diamond resources from those
four mining countries.
“We are the first industry in the country to get four consul
generals representing India,” said Sanjay Kothari, GJEPC vice president. “These
appointments will help us in rough diamond sourcing and skill development in
diamond cutting and jewelry making.”
Gemstone and Rough Markets
The colored gemstone industry in India, frustrated with long
delays launching the Coloured Stone India Pvt. Ltd. Association, has been told
progress is being made. Kothari assured the industry that “the association for
colored gemstones is in the offing and by March 2012 we should see some
positive movement forward in its formation.”
A trade initiative for India’s diamond industry was
completed in 2011 with the formation of Surat Diamond Sourcing (India) Ltd.
(SRDSIL). The organization’s first online sale held in January 2012 had a good
response, according to a report by The Times of India, an English-language daily
newspaper. But response to the second online rough auction in February was
described by The Times as “lukewarm,” which some industry members attributed to
the recent flow of low-price, low-quality Zimbabwe diamonds into the local
markets in Mumbai and Surat. In its second online auction, SRDSIL sold 21 of 31
lots for a total of $3 million, with approximately 51 percent of the goods sold
to small- and medium-size diamantaires and rough dealers. Sales of $17.2
million had been reported at its first auction a month earlier.
Emphasis on Skills
In a move to boost the development of skills needed by the
gems and jewelry industry now and into the future, GJEPC announced the
formation of the Gem and Jewellery Skill Council of India (GJSCI). This new
organization will be a joint venture of GJEPC, the Gem and Jewellery Federation
(GJF), Seepz Gems and Jewellery Manufacturers’ Association (SGJMA) and the
Jewellery Association of Jaipur (JJA). It will be promoted by the National Skill
Development Centre (NSDC), whose goal is to create 500 million skilled workers in
India across all industry sectors by 2022 through helping fund and providing
direction to private training institutes.
GJSCI aims to train 4.07 million people specifically for the
gems and jewelry industry in India by 2022.The governing council of GJSCI will
consist of 11 directors from industry and two from the government. Of the 11 industry
directors, five will be nominated by GJEPC, four by GJF and one each by SGJMA
Another initiative to help solve the shortages of skilled
manpower is being spearheaded by the Surat Diamond Association (SDA) through a
program that is training tribal women in remote locations to cut and polish
gems. The association is working on the program in conjunction with the
District Rural Development Agency (DRDA).
Commenting on market conditions, Kothari said that there has
been a positive demand from the U.S. in recent months and overseas sales are
increasing month by month. He said the domestic market is showing a very
healthy demand as well.
Generally, however, there is concern that rough prices may
increase, with the announcement by Philippe Mellier, chief executive officer
(CEO) of De Beers, that the company has no plans to increase rough production,
which could lead to shortages if demand increases.
- Overall trading activity remains slow because the market
- The ample supply of rough goods in the market is expected
to soften prices.
- Buyers’ resistance is keeping polished prices in check.
- Market is hoping for stability in the dollar-rupee
- Traders are likely to be more selective in buying because
of the new 2 percent import duty on polished diamonds.
Article from the Rapaport Magazine - March 2012. To subscribe click here.