GJEPC & US Delegation Discuss G&J Concerns

Mumbai: Mr. Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs, USA, along with a high level delegation held discussions with the key Gem & Jewellery Associations of India on Saturday at the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB).

The visit aimed at interaction with key associations to understand the current state of Indo-US Gems & Jewellery Trade presented to him by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), BDB and SEEPZ Gem & Jewellery Manufactures Association.

Key concern area that held prime place in the meet was “restoration of GSP on jewellery articles exported to the USA” withdrawn since last several years. Speaking at the Meet, Mr. Vipul Shah Chairman GJEPC stated, “Currently, Import of jewellery from India attracts duty between 5.5% – 5.8%. The jewellery exports have witnessed a sharp decline from US$ 2.3bn in 2007 to US$ 1.5bn in 2013 due to the withdrawal of GSP benefits extended to India by the USA. If GSP is restored this would help boost India’s Gem & Jewellery Exports to the USA”

He added, “GJEPC ensures all diamond manufacturers observe strict KPCS compliance while sourcing the rough”

Mr. Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs, USA stated, “I am startled by the sheer magnitude of the bourse and the employment generated by the industry to the tune of 3.5 million. India should emphasize on Transparent Supply Chain and Responsible Sourcing as these are the two key concerns of the US Government. US GSP annual review is on table of the US Government and will be announced soon in near future.”

USA is one of the leading export destinations for Gems & Jewellery and India exported total Gems & Jewellery worth US$ 5 billion in the period April – September 2014 with jewellery export valued at US$ 1.00 billion and diamonds at US$ 4.5 billion.

While India’s Total Gem & Jewellery Exports stood at USD 40 billion in 2013 India-US trade in gem & jewellery were at US$ 8.00 billion in the same period, with diamonds exported worth US$ 6. 1 billion and jewellery exports valued at US$ 1.3 billion in 2013.

In addition to the GSP restoration, the trade members emphasized that the US retailers should incentivize the Indian industry for being members of Responsible Jewellery Council to achieve highest level of compliance to meet the expectations & demands of consumers in the world, especially the USA. Also they insisted on fair play in calling for standards in terms of Indian manufacturers vis a vis jewellery manufacturers from other countries. Indian jewellery industry is proactively engaged with OECD to comply with responsible sourcing of conflict free gold for manufacturing of jewellery to comply with Dodd & Frank Act regulations.

Mr. Rivkin expressed the willingness to work closely with the Responsible Jewellery Council to find out practical ways of coming out with evolving more secure ways of such sourcing compliance.

Mr. Anoop Mehta, President BDB, said “BDB along with Council is in the process of implementation of a project called MY KYC to achieve compliance in terms of anti-money laundering & terrorist financing”

The trade highlighted the emphasis on ethical & fair business practices via strict code of conduct for Gem & Jewellery members. Proactive aggressive steps against proliferation of undisclosed sale of synthetic diamonds as natural diamonds are being undertaken by the Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee established under the aegis of GJEPC and BDB. Regular dialogues with the members, governments, both national and international, financial institutions & associations around the world are held to spread the message of 360 degree compliance & achieving excellence in terms of quality, ethical business & technology. .

Mr Rivkin along with his delegation visited the Bharat Diamond Bourse , toured Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association, oldest trade body over 100 years and SME Trading Hall and was deeply impressed with the huge size and sheer number and energy of the bourse. Gem & Jewellery trade in India looks forward to the GSP restoration at the soonest and is undertaking all possible measures in Business to ensure complete satisfaction to the clients in the USA.