Bangkok Post

Dazzling forecast for gems, jewellery

Shipments predicted to rise 5% in 2017

- 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.
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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