Daz­zling fore­cast for gems, jewellery

Ship­ments pre­dicted to rise 5% in 2017

Bangkok Post - - BUSINESS - PHUSADEE ARUNMAS

Thai gems and jewellery ex­ports are ex­pected to re­bound this year, boosted by the global eco­nomic re­cov­ery and the cabi­net’s re­cent ap­proval of mea­sures such as tax in­cen­tives to pro­mote the coun­try as a jewellery trad­ing hub.

Com­merce Min­is­ter Api­radi Tantra­porn said ship­ments of Thai gems and jewellery ex­clud­ing gold are fore­cast to rise 5% this year to US$7.32 bil­lion (256.6 bil­lion baht).

Last year, the per­for­mance of Thai gems and jewellery ex­ports was poorer than ex­pected, fall­ing 3% to $6.97 bil­lion.

The Com­merce Min­istry orig­i­nally fore­cast ship­ments of gems and jewellery ex­clud­ing gold to grow by 10% in 2016 to $7.9 bil­lion.

With gold in­cluded, ship­ments rose 29.6% in 2016, fetch­ing $14.2 bil­lion.

“The gov­ern­ment’s mea­sures are good news for gems and jewellery ex­ports, as they help un­lock key trade stum­bling blocks for ship­ments, lead­ing to lower pro­duc­tion costs for man­u­fac­tur­ers and of­fer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the in­dus­try to de­velop new pro­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy and prod­ucts,” said Mrs Api­radi.

The cabi­net on Jan 17 ap­proved mea­sures in­clud­ing tax in­cen­tives to help Thai­land be­come a jewellery trad­ing cen­tre, with the aim of rais­ing gems and jewellery ex­ports in­clud­ing gold to US$17 bil­lion this year.

Un­der the mea­sures, jewellery en­trepreneurs will be al­lowed to en­joy a twofold cor­po­rate tax de­duc­tion on ex­penses in­curred while em­ploy­ing skilled work­ers who are reg­is­tered with the Skill De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment.

The tax in­cen­tive is meant to at­tract en­trepreneurs to hire skilled labour­ers to pre­serve Thai­land’s unique­ness in jewellery and or­na­ment pro­duc­tion.

The cabi­net also ap­proved im­port tar­iff waivers for raw ma­te­ri­als used in jewellery and or­na­ment pro­duc­tion and cut tar­iffs for im­ported fin­ished prod­ucts to 10% from 20%.

Individual sell­ers of raw ma­te­ri­als for jewellery are also al­lowed a 1% per­sonal in­come tax de­duc­tion, with val­ueadded tax (VAT) ex­empted for raw ma­te­rial im­ports.

A VAT waiver is also awarded to reg­is­tered en­trepreneurs who im­port raw ma­te­ri­als or semi-fin­ished prod­ucts.

The cabi­net also agreed to ex­tend 30 bil­lion baht worth of soft loans through the Gov­ern­ment Sav­ings Bank (GSB) to small and medium-sized en­ter­prises to up­grade their ma­chin­ery and pro­duc­tiv­ity un­til Oct 31, 2017, from Dec 31, 2016.

The GSB has pro­vided 12.7 bil­lion baht worth of soft loans to 985 en­trepreneurs.

Thai­land’s jewellery in­dus­try is ranked eighth glob­ally by value. Jewellery is also among the top four prod­ucts tourists buy. The in­dus­try em­ploys more than 900,000 work­ers with 37,000 op­er­a­tors.

In a bid to boost the coun­try’s gems and jewellery in­dus­try, the Com­merce Min­istry, through the In­ter­na­tional Trade Pro­mo­tion Depart­ment, is sched­uled to hold the 59th edi­tion of the Bangkok Gems & Jewellery Fair from Feb 22-26 at Im­pact Muang Thong Thani.

One of Asia’s lead­ing trade shows for the jewellery in­dus­try, the event, which brings to­gether 730 com­pa­nies and 2,011 booths, pro­vides a prime plat­form for Thai and in­ter­na­tional jewellery de­sign­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers to dis­play their lat­est cre­ations.

Prida Ti­a­suwan, chair­man of SETlisted Pranda Jewellery Plc, said the prospects for Thai gems and jewellery ex­ports re­main promis­ing, par­tic­u­larly for items that tap into niche mar­kets such as el­derly buy­ers, pet lovers and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly­con­scious con­sumers.

SOM­CHAI POOM­LARD

Mod­els show off mer­chan­dise to pro­mote the 59th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair, which runs Feb 22-26 at Im­pact Muang Thong Thani.

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