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41st BGJF opens on a positive note
Has outlined new opportunities for B2B inetractions, exhibitions
By: Diamond World News Service
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Feb 29 2008 12:00AM
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Reference: 2196  

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The industry's optimism is fuelled by the pledge given by the newly-elected government to provide utmost supports and to work closely with the industry and strengthen the sector's competitive edge.
Meanwhile, the new executive board of the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA), the umbrella body of Thailand's jewel trade, unveiled a roadmap to the sustainable growth. A three-pronged priority plan revealed by the TGJTA's management, led by Vichai Assarasakorn, will essentially address the impediment issues involving tax and industry funding, and finding new overseas markets.

The TGJTA president said the targets are achievable in spite of a stronger baht and the economic slowdown in the US, Thailand's largest jewel export market. "Our exports to the US are likely to fall flat this year compared with last year's 9% growth. But the stagnancy of the American market will be made up by other markets which are expected to grow significantly," Mr Vichai noted.

Thailand is using the bi-annual BGJF to reinforce its strategic status as the world's capital of colored gemstones and one of Asia's leading jewel marketplaces, as well as providing a catalyst for growing its industry. The event has been organized with new exhibition zones like the Sala Design, a gallery of avant-garde designs, adding to the Elite Creations and Hot New Design show sections. The gallery will feature the world's first showcase of "Purple Evolution."
At the centre stage is the "Tree of Siam" that highlights Thai scientists' success in overcoming the age-old challenges in making purple gold possible. The fair will also see the enhanced business matching facility, known as OSP (Online Sourcing Project), at work. Furthermore, the B2B forum has expanded with a 20-member Russian buying mission which is due to meet their Thai counterparts at this fair.

The Thai jewel industry fared relatively well with exports last year soaring 32% from the previous year to 185 billion baht (US$5.38 billion). Gems and Jewelry is one of the country's top-five exports and creates direct employment for nearly one million people. With the new-found government backing and initiatives are translated into action, the Deputy Prime Minister expressed confidence that Thai jewel exports would soar above $6.06 billion this year, a conservative target, before reaching $9.09 billion in 2011.

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