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US Immigration Bans Indian Exhibitors From Attending Tuscan Show Who Were Trying To Sell Through Wrong Visa B1/B2
Future shows may have new set of laws for Indian exhibitions to maintain correct business practices
By: Diamond World News Service
Apr 16 2021 1:05PM
Reference: 25525  


Earlier this month over 40 jewellers from across India were deported from San Francisco Airport (SFO), of which around 15-16 jewellers have approached the local association in Jaipur with the problems they faced at SFO. They had gone there to participate in the Tuscan Gems and Jewellery Show, many had already booked their stalls and had documentation proving their purpose of visit.

According to a participating jeweller they were travelling on either B1 or B2 visas. Said Deepak Patel, a Jaipur-based jeweller, “I had participated in the show in 2018 and that time itself on returning from the show, I had decided to participate in their next exhibition as well. So I had completed all stall booking and visa formalities in time. After 17 long hours of flight, I was interrogated by immigration authorities at SFO. I was made to sit in a freezing cold waiting room with not even a cup of tea or coffee, let alone food. The conditions were torturous.There were about 17-18 persons along with me in similar conditions. Most of them were participating in the Tuscan G & J show and some were just visiting the show.” The jewellers were then deported by US authorities stating that their visas did not permit them to engage in any business activity in the USA. They were not supposed to sell their goods in the USA.

According to President of Jewellers Association, Jaipur, Ram Sharan Gupta, “We met these deported jewellers, understood their problems and have approached GJEPC and together we will chart out a future course of action.” During a telephonic conversation of Ram Sharan Gupta with Avi Dandiya, a jeweller from US said, “We have got the letter from GJEPC about the problems that have occurred. 80 per cent of exhibitors have been residing in the US since the past 25 years or so. We have struggled for over two decades to set up our G & J businesses here.”

The B1 visa does not allow non US nationals to conduct any kind of trading activity. Dandiya added, “Some Indian jewellers had earlier engaged in the sale of fake gemstones like fake tanzanite, rubies etc were sold to Americans. This has tarnished the image of our industry here. Americans thereafter have labelled all of us as ‘cheaters.’ B1 visa holders cannot be allowed to come and conduct business here. Some miscreants earlier had engaged in money laundering and racketeering. Now, whether it is JCK or JA, New York, we need to safeguard the reputation of Indian jewellers. We as Indian origin persons have to maintain the image of the country and we too represent the G & J traders. We have been made answerable for all these people who came with wrong visas with an intention to sell their goods at the Tuscan Show. In order to avoid it in the future, now we are preparing an Indian American Exhibitors’ Association.

In reply to why Jaipur association has not taken any action yet, Ram Sharan Gupta said, “The jewellers came to us and reported the incident and we therefore forwarded the complaints to GJEPC. We have come to know that under B1 visa traders cannot sell goods in the USA. We have informed the deportees that this is the law.”

According to Ashok Maheshwari, Secretary Jewellers Association, Jaipur, “We had a discussion with trade people, we also went through the visa details -- the B1 visa allows a person to travel for business Conferences, Contracts, Order Placements, BSM and B2 is only for tourism. We are however, writing to the Indian government authorities and trying to understand from them a legal and foolproof way in which our people can go to the USA and exhibit their wares and conduct trade practices smoothly.” It is important to find a solution which will be beneficial for all Indian traders."

The visa of these jewellers was cancelled and they have been banned for five years from going to the US. This matter needs to be taken up with the external affairs department, government of India and some sort of solution has to be found so that such incidents do not recur in future.

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