The prospects for gem and jewellery exports are growing brighter, driven mainly by the US economic recovery and the weaker baht.
Somchai: US orders are increasing
Somchai Phornchindarak, president of the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association, said shipments are expected to grow by as much as 5% this year, up from the 3% forecast earlier.
Last year, exports of gems and jewellery fetched US$13.1 billion, making up 5.74% of total export revenue.
For the first seven months of this year, shipments reached $5.17 billion, a year-on-year fall of 23.6%.
Shipments to the US market, which makes up about 15% of the jewellery export market, rose by 9.7% to $772 million.
"Purchase orders from US buyers have gradually increased in the second half of this year in line with the US economic recovery, while the government's new incentive for buyers also gives impetus to the industry," said Mr Somchai.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in July approved a tax waiver for traders at the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair, which started yesterday at Impact Muang Thong Thani and runs until Tuesday.
Thailand normally charges a 20% import tariff on such products.
Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore have already eliminated tariffs, while China and India have cut theirs to 7%.
Mr Somchai said the association has cooperated with the Commerce Ministry to hold roadshows in potential destinations such as the Middle East, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States to boost the industry.
"The prime minister in her recent visits to Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda held discussions with several leading private firms and convinced them to set up factories in Thailand and to supply more raw materials," he said.
"Their responses were very positive. In the foreseeable future, we expect the gems and jewellery industry to become more active and boost exports."
Mr Somchai said another driver for the industry is the government's plan to upgrade Chanthaburi town to a "City of Gems" and turn the eastern province into a preferential trade zone for gems and jewellery with links to global high-quality raw material suppliers such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar.
About the author
- Writer: Phusadee Arunmas
Position: Business Reporter