India sees $1 billion gem, jewellery export opportunity as US hikes duty on China

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on September 13, 2019

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The industry can flourish if the government provides the right impetus, said GJEPC’s Colin Shah


Seeking to make gains of the US-China trade war, India has set a target to increase its gem and jewellery exports to the former by $1 billion to $11 billion.

The US sources about $2 billion worth of diamond jewellery from China annually.

Intensifying the ongoing trade war, earlier this month, the US increased the duty on jewellery imported from China to 20.5 per cent from 15.5 per cent, while retaining duty on Indian jewellery shipments at 5.5 per cent.

In a bid to take advantage of the opportunity, the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) had organised a special sellers meet for the US companies for the first time ever.

Given the good response, GJEPC plans to organise separate buyers meet for diamond, gold and colour gemstones jewellers.

“This is a good opportunity for India to grab some market share, but it should also focus on quality and design rather than gaining volume,” said Trish Roberson of Roberson Fine Jewellery, who was part of 23-member US buyers group. However, Roberson is cautious in stocking up new design, as she expects the economy to slowdown closer to election year and the demand to taper down.

Lauren Barringer, Senior Buyer, Ben Bridge, said that the company has recently launched a new brand designs, which were sourced completely from India, and was looking to source gemstones from Jaipur, after the social unrest in Hong Kong. Ben Bridge sells high-end jewellery priced between $1000 to $10,000.

Exports down

However, gems and jewellery exports continued its down trend, registering a fall of 14 per cent in August to $2.84 billion against $3.32 billion logged in same period last year.

In first five months of this fiscal, the overall exports were down nine per cent to $15.33 billion ($16.84 billion) while in rupee terms it declined 6 per cent to Rs 1.07 lakh crore (Rs 1.14 lakh crore).

The hike in import duty on cut and polished diamond to 7.5 per cent from 2.5 per cent in the Budget has impacted gem and jewellery exports, as the industry has to pay high duty to bring back the consignments that have been rejected.

Import duty on gold was also hiked to 12.5 per cent from 10 per cent.

Colin Shah, Vice-President, GJEPC, said that the industry can flourish if the government provides the right impetus and grab the opportunity thrown open by the US and China trade war.

Published on September 13, 2019

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