Solitaire - - TRADE FAIR -

t the open­ing of the five-day show on Septem­ber 6th, Thai­land’s min­is­ter of com­merce, Api­radi Tantra­porn, un­der­scored the eco­nomic im­por­tance of the bian­nual Bangkok Gems & Jew­elry Fair (BGJF), which is sup­ported and or­gan­ised by Thai­land’s Depart­ment of In­ter­na­tional Trade Pro­mo­tion (DITP) un­der the min­istry of com­merce. “Thai­land’s gems and jewellery in­dus­try con­sti­tutes an es­sen­tial part of the coun­try’s trade and ex­ports,” she ex­plained. “It is ranked third af­ter the auto in­dus­try and elec­tron­ics, and gen­er­ates over $10 bil­lion in an­nual rev­enue. The gem and jewellery in­dus­try also pro­vides de­cent in­comes for over one mil­lion ar­ti­sans and skilled work­ers in the na­tion.”

Later, the newly ap­pointed di­rec­tor of the DITP, Chan­tira Jim­rei­vat Vi­va­trat, added that Thai­land’s gem and jewellery ex­ports are es­ti­mated to rise around 5% in 2017, over last year. She noted that the value of Thai ex­ports in 2017 is helped by firmer gold prices and a stronger Thai baht. The di­rec­tor also re­it­er­ated the im­por­tance of the newly es­tab­lished, and DITP-sup­ported, “Thai­land Trust Mark” (or T Mark) that cer­ti­fies the high-qual­ity and so­cially-re­spon­si­ble pro­duc­tion of gems and jewellery as well as prod­ucts in other sec­tors of the Thai econ­omy.

A sig­nif­i­cant share of Thai­land’s gem and jewellery in­dus­try is third-party pro­duc­tion that Thai man­u­fac­tur­ers carry out for many for­eign brands, in­clud­ing a num­ber of well-known global lux­ury brands. These pieces are mainly crafted in gold, di­a­monds and gem­stones, but the na­tion is also the world’s sec­ond largest sup­plier of sil­ver jewellery, just be­hind In­dia.

Sales op­ti­mism

The 60th BGJF brought to­gether 843 ex­hibitors, in­clud­ing pro­duc­ers, sup­pli­ers and ex­porters from around Thai­land and the world, who show­cased their wares in more than 2,100 booths. Among the over­seas ex­hibitors were those from the USA, China, Ja­pan, Hong Kong, In­dia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Is­rael and the ASEAN na­tions. The na­tional pavil­ions en­joyed an in­crease of 18% in ex­hibitor par­tic­i­pa­tion over the last show.

Fi­nal trade at­ten­dance was about 16,000 vis­i­tors who came from 130 na­tions around the world and helped gen­er­ate nearly $60 mil­lion in sales, an in­crease of nearly 29% over the pre­vi­ous show. The strong­est ex­port mar­kets for Thai gems and jewellery are Switzer­land, Hong Kong and the US.

Sen­ti­ment among ex­hibitors at the show was mixed. While some will al­ways do well at trade fairs, many oth­ers com­plained that the in­dus­try is still not out of the woods and that this show was on the quiet side. They seemed to be happy with some new con­tacts, how­ever, and hope that these will bring in fu­ture sales. All agreed that the show is im­por­tant to be in, given the po­si­tion of Bangkok in the world of coloured gems and jewellery.

At the BGJF, fin­ished jewellery was of­fered at most booths and at all price points, types and qual­i­ties. It ranged from high-end

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