Colombo, November 9 (Xinhua): The China International Import Expo (CIIE) is an important gateway into the Chinese market especially for gem and jewellery trade, and gives exporters a high level of confidence, a representative of a Sri Lanka-based gem industry association has said.
China’s commitment to expanding imports would enable Chinese consumers to enjoy Sri Lanka’s colored gemstones while boosting the Sri Lankan economy, Altaf Iqbal, vice chairman for foreign promotion and trade fairs of Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelry Association (SLGJA) told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
“It is important to note that China is the fastest-growing market for the gem and jewelry industry in Sri Lanka and it has remained so for the last decade,” Iqbal said.
Iqbal said that gem exports to China would greatly benefit from trade liberalization between the two countries.
Sri Lanka’s gem exports have faced great difficulty in 2020 due to COVID-19 and the cancellation of key industry exhibitions because of the pandemic, Iqbal said, adding that the CIIE would help raise the profile of Sri Lanka’s natural gems.
Sri Lankan gem exporters have participated at the CIIE since it was initiated in 2018. Iqbal said the SLGJA is working with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority to promote the country’s gem exports.
Sri Lanka earned 313.82 million U.S. dollars from exports of gems, diamonds, and jewelry in 2019, amounting to 2.67 percent of total exports.
The country’s main export destinations for gems, diamonds, and jewelry are the United States, China’s Hong Kong, and the European Union.