Gems em­po­rium sales switch to dol­lars from next year

The Myanmar Times - - Business - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

SALES at Myan­mar gem em­po­ri­ums will be con­ducted in dol­lars from next year, according to U Than Zaw Oo, chair of the Gems Em­po­rium Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee.

“Start­ing from the mid-year em­po­rium [in 2017] it will be ar­ranged that gem sales are in dol­lars rather euros,” he said. The 2016 mid-year em­po­rium kicked off in Nay Pyi Taw on Novem­ber 20.

U Than Zaw Oo told The Myan­mar Times ear­lier this month that plans were be­ing made to switch cur­ren­cies now that most of the US sanc­tions against Myan­mar have been lifted.

Euros are harder to ac­quire in Myan­mar, and are only used in the gems in­dus­try, he said, adding there would likely be more trans­ac­tions un­der a dol­lar-based sys­tem.

The com­mit­tee had ten­ta­tively hoped that sales could be in con­ducted in dol­lars at the 90th Gems Em­po­rium, which runs un Novem­ber 20 to Novem­ber 29.

But switch­ing cur­ren­cies re­quires co­or­di­na­tion be­tween banks and the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion, of which U Than Zaw Oo is also deputy di­rec­tor.

U Tun Hla Aung, sec­re­tary of the Myan­mar Gems Mer­chants As­so­ci­a­tion, said, “It is not con­ve­nient to change from euros to dol­lars right now and some as­pects still have to be pre­pared, such as the bank to bank sys­tem [for sale trans­fers].

The first Em­po­rium to have sales in dol­lars is ex­pected to be the 91st Em­po­rium, sched­uled for Novem­ber 2017.

– Trans­la­tion by Zaw Nyunt

Photo: AFP

A po­ten­tial buyer ap­praises a block of jade.

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