Thailand's gems and jewellery industry has asked
for the Thai government's support on four main issues in a bid
to double the share of Thai exports of these products in world
market to 4 per cent within five years.
The proposal was made at s meeting last month between
PrimeMinister Prayut Chan-o-Cha and chief executive officers of
key industries, mainly in food, gems and jewellery, and services.
The meeting was aimed at voicing private enterpriseses' opinions
Mr Somchai Phornchindarak, president of the Gems,
Jewelry and Precious Metal Confederation of Thailand (GJPCT) and
former president of the Thai Gems and Jewelry Traders Association,
said his industry was facting four key problems : shortage of
skilled labour, lack of support for research and development,
low financial liquidity, and the high cost of importing raw materials.
During the meeting, the industry addressed those four problems
and asked for the government's support in dealing with them.
To help promote this industry, which ranks among
the Kingdom's top 10 export products. Mr Somchai said the government
should waive import tariffs on raw materials for enterprises that
aim to re-export. The association also encouraged the government
to waive value-added tax (VAT) for gems and jewellery sales within
Thailand, as most buyers are foreigners, while Thais normally
buy only gold.
The association also asked the government to allocate
some funding for R & D in the industry, as well as increasing
skilled labour. During the past five years, the industry has seen
a reduction in the number of workers, particularly skilled craftspeople,
to fewer than a million from more than 1.2 milllion, Mr Somchai
Moreover, the GJPCT called for the government to
increase liquidity for small and medium-sized enterprises in the
gems and jewellery sector, as they have faced problems accessing
soft loans. The government could re-establish the Gem Bank project,
which should be administrated by a private organisation, so that
it will better operated and can relaese soft loans to help SMEs
in the industry.
If the government can support can support these plans,
Mr Somchai believes the Thai share of gems and jewellery products
in the world market could double from the current 2 per cent to
4 per cent within five years.
Currently, the global value of gems and jewellery
trading is about US$500 billion (Baht 17.9 trillion) a year. With
signs of a recovery in global trading. Thai exports of gems and
jwellery are experts to grow by 5 per cent this year from last
year's approximate value of $10 billion.
In addition, to promote more domestic sales of gems
and jewellery to foreign tourists, the GJPCT is urging the Tourism
Ministry to put Bangkok gems and jewellery fairs on the travelling
calendar, to be held every six months.
The association is also encouraging the promoting
of trading streets specialisting in gems and jewellery as symbolic
tourist destinations. For instance, Charoenkrung Road and jewellery
as symbolic tourist destinations. For instance, Charoenkrung Road
and Khaosan Road could be promoted as silver-jewellery trading
streets, Yaowarat Road as a gold street, and Silom and Mahesak
as gemstones streets.
The magnificent set, titled "DNA of the Kaleidoscape,"
was awarded First Prize in GIT World's JewelryDesign Awards 2015,
held recently in Bangkok The jewellery set was designed by Miss
Chan Hsiao-Ching. of Taiwan, and sponsored by Chyhijun Jewelry Company.
As the prize-winning designer, Miss Chan Hsiao-Ching received the
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Trophy, plus a $3,000 cash prize
sponsored by the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association. Picture
by courtesy of the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (Public