Rapaport Magazine

India Market Report

New Leadership, New Ideas

By Zainab Morbiwala
As the industry prepares to pull down the curtain on 2012, the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) elected new leadership. Both Vipul P. Shah from Asian Star, the new chairman, and Pankaj Parekh from Kolkata’s Alankar, the new vice chairman, will hold office for two years. The announcement was made at a press conference in Mumbai. 

New Initiatives
In his first public speech as the newly appointed chairman, Shah laid out his plans for the coming months, with a continued, heavy emphasis on the aggressive and creative marketing and promotion for which GJEPC is famous. “The Council will focus on penetrating new emerging markets through buyer-seller matching programs and trade delegations,” he said, two initiatives that have proven particularly successful for the council.

Shah acknowledged that to increase diamond jewelry sales, it is important to boost consumer confidence in this category. Among council initiatives for the coming months are strategies for promoting diamonds in India and China and for exploring new markets for bilateral trade relations. Included in those efforts would be joint participation at international jewelry shows, sending and hosting trade delegations and buyer-seller conferences and meetings.

In line with this strategy, Shah announced that the first ever Indo-Australian Jewelry Buyer-Seller Meet will be held in May 2013 in Sydney and Melbourne over a two-day period. Shah also stated that the council is exploring the possibility of participating in the proposed India Show at Dhaka, scheduled to take place from December 3 to 5, 2012. This show is being organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

To strengthen the industry’s physical infrastructure and competitive position globally, the council has requested funding from the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan for a variety of projects, which already have been endorsed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The proposals include a convention center, along with a gem and jewelry park, in Mumbai, a diamond exchange center in Gujarat, a gem bourse in Jaipur, technology upgrades in the gems and jewelry sector and a gem and jewelry training center in Domjur, Kolkata. Approximately $22.6 billion is earmarked for capital investment funding throughout the country under the current Five-Year Plan.

Speaking exclusively to Rapaport Magazine, Rajiv Jain, outgoing chairman of GJEPC and regional chairman of the council’s Jaipur board, said, “It has been a fantastic experience to chair the council for two years and it was a great learning experience interacting with so many of my industry colleagues. The only thing I wish I could have completed is the formation of the colored gemstone association. Still, at this point, the association already has been registered and I am hoping it will soon be operational. I wish Vipul Shah all the very best for his term ahead and I am sure under his leadership, GJEPC, as well as the industry, will benefit immensely.”

Meeting the Neighbors
With the industry on record as aggressively exploring all potential new markets, it is natural for India’s attention to be focused on neighboring Pakistan. Recently, GJEPC hosted a meeting in Pakistan and returned home happy with the response received. Pravin Nanavati, former president of the Surat Diamond Association (SDA), in an interview with the business daily newspaper, Business Standard, referred to the weakness in overall export demand for diamonds. “Demand from conventional export destinations like the U.S. and Europe is down and exporters have turned their focus to the domestic market,” he said. “But, the easing of trade restrictions with Pakistan will give a big push to the direct export of diamonds from India to Pakistan.”

Currently, there is no direct diamond trade between Pakistan and India but Pakistan does import Indian cut and polished diamonds via Dubai or Hong Kong. The hope is that Pakistan will give India most-favored nation (MFN) trade status by the end of 2012, thereby boosting direct trade potential between the two nations.

“Newer markets and consumer segments are emerging in the domestic market itself,” Nanavati also was quoted as saying. “We see domestic demand growing about 15 percent to 20 percent during this fiscal year over the same period in 2012. Jewelry demand also is upbeat, which is why exporters prefer the domestic market over international.”

Positive Sentiments
Comparing the current market sentiments to 2011, Sunil Gupta from J.B. and Brothers said there is definitely more confidence and a more positive air in the industry. After the recent shows, he said, “we have been keeping busy and have many potential customers seeking appointments. Also, one thing that I see changing the face of the industry is a greater emphasis on online trading and sales. Personally, we at J. B. and Brothers are witnessing a very good customer base in our online offerings.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - November 2012. To subscribe click here.

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