(MUMBAI) – The Thailand Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) organized a webinar to discuss the potential business opportunity between India’s and Thailand’s jewelry industry post COVID-19, as well as to promote the new version of Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (BGJF).
Entitled ‘Managing the Crisis, Mitigating the Impact with Survival & Revival Strategy for Jewelry Industry Related Post COVID-19’, the webinar attracted leading players in the gems and jewelry sector from both Thailand and India. The purpose of the webinar was to discover ways to promote cooperation between the two Asian countries.
Jittima Nakamano, the Director of the Thai Trade Centre in Chennai, stated: “The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the gems and jewelry industry around the world, due to the lock down, social distancing, and no demand for gems and jewelry. From January to April 2020, the export value of Thailand’s gems and jewelry products (excluding unwrought gold) declined by 25.31% to US$1.77 billion, compared with the same period the previous year.” However, Ms Nakamano was confident that with the sharp decline in COVID-19 cases currently in Thailand, the country’s gems and jewelry industry would bounce back stronger than ever.
“With the support of the Thai Government, we are aggressively pushing export activities to India, Japan, the US and the Middle East,” she said, adding that the DITP had remained at the forefront of the country’s efforts to support its gems and jewelry industry, especially its exports.
Due to current global climate the DITP was currently focusing on transforming the BGJF into a new version. “Because of COVID-19, we have to adjust ourselves and use online platforms to promote Thailand’s gems and jewelry industry,” Ms Nakamano said.
The DITP had also instigated programs to support many SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) within the industry.
“We have marketing programs and several training programs to make Thailand a regional hub in the sector,” Ms. Nakamano said.
The 2020 edition of the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair is set to become the new BGJF. Embracing the “new normal” era, BGJF will represent the most comprehensive online jewelry trade fair in ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Adopting the theme, Thailand’s Magic Hands, the BGJF will highlight the skills of Thailand’s master gems and jewelry craftspeople, with a specific focus on colored gemstones, precious and semi-precious stones, as well as silver jewelry.
Regarding bilateral trade relations between India and Thailand, Ms. Nakamano felt that there was much scope for further cooperation between the two countries.
Sanjay Kothari, Ex-Chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC) and Chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Skill Council of India (GJSCI) said the size of the gems and jewelry exports in India had contracted because of the ongoing global situation to US$18-20 billion. The country’s domestic gems and jewelry market was currently valued at US$20 billion. He highlighted the benefits of the India Jewellery Excellence Symposium (IJES) initiative, and suggested that Thailand should join it.
Mehul Shah, Vice President of the Bharat Diamond Bourse, discussed the stability of the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB). He also stated that the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) was the world’s largest diamond body with 30 members all over the world. Due to the lock down in India, diamond manufacturing had halted in the last couple of months, making this a good time to invest in diamonds.
Phuket Khunaprapakorn, Managing Director of Gemburi, praised the Thai government for supporting the country’s gems and jewelry industry throughout the current situation by providing soft loans, technical facilities and worker support. He added that the Chanthaburi gems market was the first to re-open in the post-COVID-19 world. Now the market has returned to 80% of its pre-coronavirus levels and was looking forward to shipping gems to India.
Mithun Sancheti, CEO of Caratlane, said that consumers were increasingly buying jewelry online, and that the main aim now was to reach the right consumer.
In conclusion all speakers agreed that both India and Thailand could transform the current global trade scenario through working more closely together.