KOLKATA: The US-China trade war has benefited gem and jewellery expo rts from Thailand in the past seven months even as India, which cuts and polishes 14 out of 15 diamonds used globally, has not been able to enhance its share of overseas shipments. The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), India’s top industry body, believes a concerted policy push is needed to give the country a bigger share in the global trade.
“The absence of SEZ (special economic zone) policy, ecommerce policy and others are the reasons for which we are not being able to leverage the current spat between the US and China, while countries such as Thailand are increasing their exports,” said Colin Shah, vice-chairman, GJEPC. “In the past seven months, Thailand’s gem and jewellery exports have risen 29.3%. On the contrary, in the first four months of the current fiscal, our exports have fallen 8.48% in dollar terms.” To be sure, the Indian rupee has been among the worst performing Asian currencies in 2019.
The GJEPC vice chairman said that it has received feelers from Chinese jewellery manufacturers to set up base in India.
“Since the policies are not in place, they cannot set up units in India. We are taking up the issue with the government shortly. We have also been asking for an ecommerce policy for gem and jewellery exports,” Shah said.
Policy support is crucial to ensure that exports remain competitive. “Countries such as Thailand or Vietnam are providing better business policies, which we are not being able to do,” said Shah. “In the past five years, our gem and jewellery exports have only dropped. The industry has been demanding for long that the SEZ policy and ecommerce policy be put in place.”
The SEZ policy mandates units to exit by surrendering the land given to them on lease without any premium, which the prospective manufacturers find difficult to accept. Another issue is that the units could be quite large and may not be able to engage completely in exports.