Rapaport Magazine

India

By Zainab Morbiwala
Waiting List

The continued popularity of the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) and the inability of the organizer, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), to accommodate more exhibitors has renewed calls for a new Mumbai convention center large enough to meet demand. The fact that two independent shows were timed this year to solicit business from the IIJS overflow only added to the pressure.
   Nirav Bhansali, head of GJEPC’s exhibition subcommittee, explained that “IIJS is the only show in the world that has a retention level of 99 percent. Due to space constraints, we have a waiting list of above 600 exhibitors each year. Out of that waiting list, we can accommodate just about 1 percent because first preference is given to the previous exhibitors. Only when someone from the list drops out can we entertain new participants.”

Serious Space Shortage
   The show’s space limitations have been an issue for GJEPC for almost a decade now. The issue dates back to Sanjay Kothari’s term as the council’s chairman, when he raised the need for a convention center and asked the Maharashtra state government to look into it. To capitalize on the unmet demand, this year, two independent shows scheduled their Mumbai events in suburban hotels on dates that coincided with IIJS, which is now in its 31st year. Hotel Sahara Star hosted the Jewel Trendz Gems and Jewellery Show and Hotel Westin hosted UBM’s Regalia.
   The shows were not officially connected with the IIJS but they overlapped its dates and drew on the show’s crowds by offering shuttle service from IIJS to their venues. A senior official from the GJEPC exhibition committee said it is time to work on finding alternatives to accommodate the exhibitors who were awaiting their turn at the IIJS or else these satellite shows would become annual events on a par with IIJS.
   IIJS enjoys a reputation as a one-stop show for diamonds and jewelry for retailers across India who take advantage of the opportunity to stock for the upcoming Diwali season and also to learn about the new trends, designs and prevalent market prices for gems and jewelry. The show has proven to be a good networking platform between Indian sellers and international buyers and the overseas delegation attending the show has been on the rise. (For more show coverage, go to www.diamonds.net.)
   The response to the India International Jewellery Week (IIJW) 2014 was positive as well, and the council said it is considering making it an international event next year and hosting it in a country outside India. A highlight of IIJS and IIJW was the Jewellers for Hope fund-raising dinner that had Bollywood stars in attendance. The gala event was GJEPC’s first large-scale philanthropic initiative and it raised more than $165,755 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation that fulfills the wishes of terminally ill children in India. The dinner was held in partnership with Gemological Science International (GSI).

A Case of Fraud
   As reported in The Times of India, approximately 10 to 15 Gujarati diamond merchants dealing in tanzanite were defrauded by a Chinese diamond merchant and three merchants from Rajasthan. It has been confirmed by diamond industry leaders in Hong Kong that the Chinese merchants procured $10 million worth of the gemstone within five months and then supplied the goods to the Indian firm owned by the Rajasthanis, who made advance payments for the first few consignments.
   Later, the gemstones were allegedly sold or smuggled out of Hong Kong to China and other countries. They were reportedly sold at bargain prices much lower than market value in all-cash deals. When it was time for payment to the Gujarati diamantaires, the owners of the Chinese and Indian firms defaulted.
   Authorities cautioned diamond dealers to conduct complete reference checks on prospective clients, especially in transactions that involve advance payments, which are commonly used in fraudulent deals.

Federal Budget
   Narendra Modi’s first federal budget under his new Finance Minister Arun Jaitley failed to contain any new provisions that will positively impact the gems and jewelry industry. The industry is said to be “unimpressed” by the budget. Vipul Shah, chairman of GJEPC, stated that none of the recommendations put forth by the council for the benefit of the industry were included in the first budget of this new political party in power. But he was quick to add that he had full confidence that the government was working to first streamline federal legislation and was understandably focused on areas of interest to the nation as a whole, rather than individual industries.
   One of the priorities for the diamond industry that traders were hoping for was a lessening of the 2 percent import duty on gold. Diamantaires have argued that some concession on the import duty would help to bring gold smuggling under control. One provision in the new budget that was applauded by the industry was the government’s decision to renew its focus on promoting exports and reviving the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the country.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - August 2014. To subscribe click here.

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