India Puts Restrictive Measures on Gold Imports 

Saiyam Mehra

Mumbai: The Indian government has recently imposed new restrictions on gold imports, specifically targeting the import of gold jewellery from ASEAN and SouthEast Asia. This strategic move aims to strengthen the Indian jewellery industry by curbing the disproportionate import of bullion compared to jewellery and fostering local manufacturing capabilities.

Mr. Saiyam Mehra, Chairman of the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC), highlighted the significant disparity between bullion and jewellery imports, stating, “India imports bullion to the tune of 600-800 tonnes per annum, which is substantially higher than jewellery. India does not import gold jewellery through official sources due to a 25% import duty. The import duty on ASEAN countries was ‘zero’, which resulted in India’s import of gold jewellery to the tune of more than 3.5 tonnes valued at $112.09 million in April-May 2023, of which $76.28 million came from Indonesia. Now, the restriction will stop such imports and enable jewellery retailers to manufacture all gold ornaments locally.”

It is heard that the previous practice of importing ornaments for melting in local refineries and selling bullion for higher profits due to duty differentials has raised concerns within the industry. This practice not only affects domestic revenue but also poses a significant threat to the livelihoods of 70-80 lakh (7-8 million) local artisans.

Mr. Saiyam Mehra further emphasized the urgent need to discourage the sale of bullion obtained from imported jewellery. He noted that such practices leave only liaisoning jobs for the local markets and pose a grave risk of rendering numerous local artisans jobless.

Mr. Rajesh Rokde, Vice Chairman of the GJC, added, “With the current change, jewellery imports from ASEAN countrries have been restricted. Now, Indian jewellers can import gold jewellery only through the UAE under the CEPA agreement after paying the required import duty.”

These measures are expected to bolster the growth of the Indian jewellery industry, empowering local manufacturers to produce a wide range of gold ornaments domestically. By reducing reliance on imports, the government aims to create a favorable environment for the development of local artisans and safeguard their employment opportunities. The All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) welcomes the government’s decision to impose restrictions on gold imports and stands united with the Indian jewellery industry in its efforts to nurture self-sufficiency and preserve the rich heritage of Indian jewellery craftsmanship.