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Published on: Dec. 2, 2020, 4:57 p.m.
India, Thailand see a silverline
  • Indian silver jewellery exporters, like their Thai counterparts, have a strong handcrafting orientation and a design database

By Arbind Gupta. Assistant Editor, Business India

The two major silver jewellery players of the world are looking to work together to promote silver jewellery in the global market! The decision of India and Thailand to join hands comes at a time when the overall global gem & jewellery business is passing through a tough time, owing to the ongoing pandemic. Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) with support from Thailand’s gem & jewellery delegates and the Thai Trade Centre, Mumbai, has conducted the ‘Silverline Trade from Bangkok to Bombay Roadshow’ in Mumbai.

The Thai government has invited the representatives of the Indian gem & jewellery industry, particularly the silver jewellery sector, to participate in the 66th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (BGJF) to be held during 23-27 February 2021 in Bangkok. Last year, on the sidelines of 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-Cha had reviewed the progress made in bilateral relationship and expressed their desire to further boost the bilateral trade between the two countries.   

There is unanimity in opinion within the two countries that the silver jewellery industries of both India and Thailand can collaborate on various fronts for mutual benefits. During the last few years, silver has been drawing the attention of buyers because it was more affordable than its counterpart, the yellow metal, and also because of its easier availability and better jewellery designs. In fact, India’s jewellery exporters are now focussing on silver, along with lab-grown diamonds, to offset the overall demand contraction in the gem & jewellery sector. 

As per the data available with the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the Indian silver jewellery industry saw the exports more than doubling to $1.7 billion in 2019-20 – up from $832 million 2018-19 –while India’s gross exports of gems & jewellery dipped by 10.19 per cent to $35.53 billion. During the first half of the current year (April-September 2020), there has been an 80 per cent growth in exports of silver jewellery to about $865 million, while India’s overall gross exports of gems & jewellery during the period declined 43 per cent to $8.48 billion. 

“Silver jewellery is a sector where, despite the pandemic, the recovery has been fast,” affirmed Suresh Kumar, Joint Secretary, ministry of Commerce & Industry,  during GJEPC’s three-day Virtual Buyer-Seller Meet (VBSM) for Silver and Fashion & Costume Jewellery held recently. “At $865 million, India’s silver (plain and studded silver jewellery) exports from April to September 2020 is almost 50 per cent of the last one year. Silver is comparatively cheap, and so, consumers are inclined to buy more, as it is the best performing commodity. However, the costume & fashion jewellery segment requires more attention, as India’s share is just 2-3 per cent of the $7 billion world market. GJEPC is expected to take initiatives to further the growth of this potential segment”.

“India is known as one of the top players in international gems & jewellery business dealing in quality diamonds and coloured stones, as also silver & gold jewellery,” remarked Somdet Susomboon, Director General, DITP, Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, in a video message, during the ‘Silverline Trade from Bangkok to Bombay Roadshow’ in Mumbai. “DITP looks forward to welcoming India’s gems & jewellery players to join our BGJF platform.” Keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic, the DITP will provide the event with a hybrid platform for all attendees both offline and online, while also ensuring that the highest levels of safety, security and public health precautions are in place for the benefit of attendees.

Pro-active initiatives

BGJF is one of the world’s most renowned and longest-celebrated gems & jewellery trade fairs. Organised on a bi-annual basis by Thailand’s DITP in February and September, the BGJF is regarded as a significant trading arena, where all key players in the global gems & jewellery business can achieve their purposes of sourcing, trading and networking.

Supatra Sawaengsri, Consul (Commercial) & Director, Thai Trade Centre, Mumbai, emphasised that, in the previous (65th) BGJF, Indians were the no: 1 visitors, attending the show and no: 2 in trade volume. Sawaengsri was making a presentation on the 66th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2021 & Thai Silver Jewellery Seminar. Indian buyers who are interested in joining, should contact Thai Trade Centre in Mumbai for a smooth registration process and any other assistance, she suggested, adding that, for interested Indian companies attending the fair, the Thai authorities will also arrange B2B meetings.

Colin Shah, chairman, GJEPC, who was a member of the Indian delegation, which participated in the road-show in Mumbai, praised the pro-active initiative taken by Thailand’s DITP in conducting a road-show of huge a magnitude in Mumbai. He highlighted the numerous initiatives taken by the apex body in fostering enhanced collaboration between India and Thailand in the gem & jewellery business.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Thailand in November 2019 and celebrated the strong ties that bound India with Thailand,” informed Mehul Shah, vice-president, Bharat Diamond Bourse. “And, his government wants to bring them even closer by transforming India’s Northeast region into a gateway to South East Asia. With the support of the Thai government, DITP is aggressively pushing export activities to India, Japan, the US and the Middle East. BGJF exhibition promotes and enhances trade between India and Thailand and builds up great B2B relationships between Indian and Thai business people”. 

“Silver is a democratic metal, as it is well within everyone’s reach,” added Saiyam Mehra, CoA member, All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) and convener, GJS. “It is gaining ground across the globe because of two drivers – it’s precious yet affordable. India and Thailand have many similarities and commonalties in their gems & jewellery trade. Indian silver jewellery exporters, like their Thai counterparts, have a strong handcrafting orientation and a design database, supported by quality manufacturing operations. India and Thailand can collaborate and explore synergies to enhance their global exports,” Mehra added.

Meanwhile, GJEPC has prepared a comprehensive plan to promote the silver jewellery exports from India, as it believes that silver (plain and studded silver jewellery) exports will grow in the coming years, because of the growing demand for Indian silver jewellery from across the world. Also, the Indian industry possesses a strong design database, supported by quality manufacturing.

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