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FACETS 2011 takes-off as gem exports continue its turnaround through 1H 2011

Sep 8, 2011 7:00:13 PM - www.ft.lk

The gem mining sub-sector grew by 7.9% in 2010. The gem and jewellery exports too reported 1.56% positive growth in 2010. Even in the first-half of 2011, increased earnings from mineral exports were led by higher exports of gems which increased by 35.5% in the first half of 2011, according to the Central Bank. The Gem and jewelry sector also could become a major growth driver to achieve our 2015 export earnings target of US $ 15 billion, says Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry & Commerce in Sri Lanka.

Minister Bathiudeen was speaking on the occasion of inauguration of FACETS Sri Lanka at BMICH, Colombo yesterday.
“In 2010, Sri Lanka exported diamonds and jewelry to the value of US $ 335 million and US $ 70 million of Gems. Gem and jewellery contributes five per cent to our total exports earnings. Gem and other mining also was the top sector contributing to the 15.5% growth in mining and quarrying subsector in 2010. There are more than 600,000 people engaged in the gem mining to market cycle.” Minister Bathiudeen said.
Sri Lanka’s gem (only) exports in 2010 first half stood at US $ 35.76 Mn and in the first half of 2011, it rose to US $ 48.46 Mn showing leap of 35.5%. The major buyers of Sri Lanka gems are Hong Kong, USA, Thailand and Switzerland. Emerging Markets for Gems & Jewellery are China, Russia, and Brazil. Held annually in Colombo since 1991, FACETS is Sri Lanka’s only international gem and jewellery show, which saw a new beginning in September 2005 when it moved to the BMICH Exhibition and Convention Centre in Colombo. Exhibitors increased by more than 50 percent and a total of 154 booths are on show this year which is the 21st annual exhibition in this series. Two 19 member Chinese delegations and one 16 member Russian delegation are in Colombo for FACETS 2011 which will conclude on 11 September.
 “As the international gem market recovered, the gem mining sub sector which declined by 17.2% in 2009, too recovered and grew by 7.9% in 2010” Minister Bathiudeen said.  “I believe that if we focus well, the gem and jewelry sector also could become a major growth driver to achieve our 2015 export earnings target of US $ 15 billion. It is in this context that I see the great potential of this sector. I am glad to announce that day before yesterday we launched the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 show to be held in March 2012. I invite Sri Lanka’s gem and jewellery industry to become a key exhibitor in this show” Minister Bathiudeen said.
The National Gem & Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka has set a target of US $1 billion through gem and jewelry exports by 2016.  
“The Gem and Jewellery sector, which was severely affected by the global meltdown has been able to register a positive upwards trend, from minus 26% growth in 2009, to 1.56% in 2010” Minister Bathiudeen said.
“The Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association in collaboration with the National Gem and Jewellery Authority organised the FACETS – Sri Lanka International Gem & Jewellery Show 2011 with to showcase Sri Lanka’s Gem & Jewellery products to the global market and to communicate Sri Lanka’s position as a leading supplier of Gems and Jewellery. It is the premier Gem & Jewellery show in Sri Lanka which is included in the international calendar” he said.
“From ancient times Sri Lanka is widely known as a supplier of highly treasured gems. Sri Lanka’s mineral rich soils have been yielding a seemingly never ending supply of high quality precious and semi-precious gem stones such as sapphires, star sapphires, rubies, cats eyes etc. The Gem and Jewelry industry’s contribution, to the economy, in terms of foreign exchange earnings and employment generation is commendable. Therefore, all efforts taken to promote and strengthen this industry are indeed welcomed and I am happy to be associated with the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association, which is the main organiser of the show” Minister Bathiudeen said.
 “I am happy to announce that the Ministry of Industry is always committed and ready to support the Industry to take part in Expo 2012 show and also to find new international markets. FACETS, being one of leading trade fairs held in the Asian Region, looking forward to expand its trade ties with India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, creating a perfect platform, to the local manufacturers to enter the market as well as providing a unique opportunity for the Gem & Jewellery industry stakeholders in neighbouring countries to view and buy our products. I express my deep appreciation to the Chairman and the Organising Committee of “FACETS” for the initiatives taken in organising the Facets Sri Lanka show annually, offering a perfect platform to the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelry industry to showcase its capabilities” Minister Bathiudeen said.

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