57th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair inaugurated today

It expects buyers from around the world including US, EU, Russia, China, ASEAN, Middle East
57th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair inaugurated today

57th Bangkok Gem and Jewelry Fair (BGJF) slated from February 24 to 28, held at the Impact Challenger, Bangkok inaugurated today. In recent years the fair has grown into the fifth biggest industry show in the world. It intends to draw tens of thousands of buyers from all around the world, including the US, EU, Russia, China, ASEAN and the Middle East, all looking for best value for money option.

 “Come and enjoy our famous Thai hospitality,” invited Suttipong Damrangsakul, the President of the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA). Somchai Phornchindarak, President of the Gems, Jewelry and Precious Metal Confederation of Thailand (GJPCT), believes the quality of gemstones on offer at the 57th BGJF is higher than at other shows. “You come to Thailand to get the best, anywhere else you are getting the second best,” he says. The 40-year plus veteran of the industry says that Thailand has developed an international reputation for the finest quality coloured stones – or Ploi Thai – in the world whereas once the country’s fame was solely for excavating the precious gems this is now not the case. “Thailand has a hundred-year history with gems,” he says, “but now we no longer have our own gems. Ploi Thai is the Thailand country brand; it doesn’t matter where the stones come from they are assembled in Thailand. When you think of coloured stones you think of Thailand, that’s why we call it Ploi Thai.”

Somchai believes that Thailand is set to become the gem hub not just of ASEAN but of the world. “In three to five years time Thailand will become gem hub of ASEAN, but we will not rest there,” he says. “I want it to be capital of the world, that’s why we are asking for government support.” 

Recent discussions with the Thai government towards securing zero duty status for the industry – to bring it closer to Hong Kong – are starting to bear fruit, according to Somchai. He partially attributes this to the unification of the 13 gems and jewelry associations under a single body under the GJPCT. The package, subject to be formalised by the Thai government includes the exemption of VAT for imports of finished diamonds and gemstones for manufacturing, rough stones for manufacturing and sale, machinery tools and essential materials.

Both Somchai and Suttipong believe that the government will ratify the proposals before the 58th BGJF in September 2016. “We’re 90% there,” says Mr. Suttipong. “By September we will have better tools to compete with Hong Kong.” Suttipong believes that recent global economic downturns, that have badly affected the luxury industry, could play to the advantage of the 57th BGJF. Buyers that used to hunt in packs of threes attending shows all over the globe are now becoming increasingly discerning. “Thailand is at centre of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a new community of 600 million people,” he says. “Buyers can reach new suppliers from the AEC, and suppliers can reach international buyers – all in a one-stop expo.”

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