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India’s Gross Exports of G&J for FY 2017-18 at US$41 Bn; GJEPC Presents Future Plans

Apr 26, 2018

At a press meet today, The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) released the  annual figures related to India’s  imports and exports of gems and jewellery products for the Financial Year 2017-18.

At the meeting, Chairman GJEPC Pramod Agrawal (through his speech) and Vice Chairman Colin Shah (while elaborating on a detailed presentation of the performance figures) provided a perspective to its performance, dealt with matters relating to recent challenges faced by the industry, as well as laid down the plans and initiatives chalked out by the GJEPC for the future growth and development of the gems and jewellery industry of the country.

First, the performance.

Total gross exports of gems and jewellery (g&j) from India amounted to US$ 40,972.36 million in FY 2017-18 as compared to gross exports  amounting to US$  43,157.11 million for the previous financial year; thus registering a drop of 5.06%.

Total imports of gems and jewellery for the period amounted to US$ 31,516.70 million as compared to imports of g&j products worth US$  28,733.60 million  in the previous fiscal; registering a rise of 9.69%. 

Cut and polished diamonds, the largest segment of the g&j pie, accounts for a 58% share. For FY 2017-18, cut and polished diamond exports stood at US$ 23,732.96 million, as against exports worth US$ 22,783.85 in the previous financial year; marking a growth of 4.17%.

Imports of rough diamonds for the period under discussion amounted to US$ 18,889.01 million as compared to imports of rough worth US$ 17,080.23 million in the previous year; a rise of 10.59%.

Gold jewellery, with a 24% share of the g&j basket,  accounted for exports  worth US$ 9,673.23 million for the period, as compared to exports worth US$ 8,721.88 million for the previous year; registering a growth of 10.91%. 

Exports of coloured gemstones amounted to US$ 433.31 million and showed a growth of 3.14% over the previous year’s exports of US$ 420.11 million.

Silver jewellery exports dropped by 15.80% and stood at US$ 3385.65 million for FY 2017-18, as compared to exports worth US$ 4021.03 in the previous fiscal. 

The category of others (which includes pearls, synthetic stones, costume/fashion jewellery and gold medallions) dropped steeply by 59.79% to US$ 2,257.78 million from US$ 5,615.38 million registered in the previous year.

Major export destinations for the gems and  jewellery sector in FY 2017-18 were Hong Kong with 33%; followed by UAE with 25% of exports and USA at 23%.

Speaking at the event, Chairman, GJEPC Pramod Agrawal, said, “The just ended financial year has been an interesting one for the gems and jewellery industry. It has been a mixed bag with highs and lows: we have sailed through the rough times and entered the new financial year on a note of optimism and determination to forge ahead.”

He went on to say: “The gems and jewellery sector today contributes nearly  7% to India’s GDP and contributes over  15% to the country’s  Merchandise Exports. It is an over US$ 41 billion industry   employing   a workforce  of over five  million currently. Also, India has become n undisputed world leader in the cut and polished diamond market, polishing nearly one billion stones each year.”

Agrawal went on to say that the GJEPC, in alignment with the Hon’ble PM’s vision of employment generation is looking at adding another three million jobs in the sector by 2022.  

“GJEPC will set a Jewellery Park in Mumbai very soon,” he said. “The jewellery park project is estimated to generate direct employment to around 1,00,000 workers for the State of Maharashtra.”

While making a detailed presentation on the year’s performance, Shah pointed out that with India having an overwhelmingly large share of the world market there was not much scope for growth and hence exports of cut and polished diamonds were showing only a single digit increase.  However, he pointed out, growth could come if the demand for diamonds increased worldwide.

He made a very important point on why the Indian diamond industry would continue to prevail despite many murmurs about China or some other centre taking over a chunk of the market. “India has been able to become world leaders in the segment thanks to our entrepreneurs and the ability of our  workforce,” he said.  “Our diamond cutters are something of entrepreneurs themselves. Hence, where the workers of other countries cut mechanically, our cutters ensure the best yield, the best cut.”

He highlighted   various schemes like Common Facility Centres (CFCs), Jewellery Parks and the five skilling institutes of the  Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery (IIGJ),  on which the GJEPC was laying huge emphasis. The CFCs would provide accessible and affordable infrastructure and technology for entrepreneurs in the SME sector; and the IIGJs would  aid the  skilling and upskillng of the existing and future workforce. 

 He said, “GJEPC is committed to the four pillar principles of fair trade. One, it leads in workplace modernisation. Two, it has created model programs for the health and welfare of its workers. Three, it plays a dominant role in global diamond and jewellery advertising. Four, it is building state-of-the-art gemological laboratories that ensure diamonds are not only natural and well-crafted but ethically sourced. GJEPC has earned a proven right to proclaim adherence to fair-trade principles and practices.”

Shah announced that the GJEPC plans to hold a   Banking Symposium on  May 11, 2018, where a white paper will be present on mitigating risks for the banks and   with an objective to address the key challenges faced by the industry.   

 Shah spent some time elaborating upon and laid emphasis on the steps being taken by the GJEPC to ensure self-regulation by the trade on matters of compliance.

He outlined three facets of self regulation: The   My KYC Bank portal launched by the GJEPC last year which maintains a record of participating companies; RJC membership which is  being popularised - as members of Responsible Jewellery Council  companies need to follow  RJC  guidelines  for a  responsible supply chain; and the Best Practice Principles (BPP) which are compliance guidelines of the mining companies are to be followed by the long term clients /sight holders. In addition to all these, the diamond industry also follows the System of Warranties on all their invoices as initiated by World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the World Diamond Council (WDC). 

 Shah concluded by saying that he looked forward to an enhanced performance by the gems and jewellery industry in the coming year, as the key markets were looking up, and as a result of the various steps being taken for the generic promotions of diamonds worldwide as well as the numerous international and national events planned by the GJEPC to promote the Indian gems and jewellery industry.

Pic Cap:  (from left to right)     Colin Shah, Vice  Chairman; Pramod Agrawal, Chairman; and Sabyasachi Ray, Executive Director

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