Gems and Jewelry Fair Returns to Yangon
By Myo Pa Pa San 5 January 2018
YANGON — The international Gems and Jewelry Fair is returning to Yangon this year, nearly a decade after it was last held in the country’s commercial capital.
The fair will feature about 100 booths selling mainly rubies, jade and sapphire and run from Jan. 11 through Jan. 14 at the Lotte Hotel in Hlaing Township, said U Aung Myint, vice chairman of the Yangon branch of the Myanmar Gems and Jewelry Entrepreneurs Association.
“Though our rubies and sapphires are popular among international countries, we don’t have a market at home for international buyers. So we intend to establish a domestic market gradually through such exhibitions,” U Aung Myint said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Professionals will also give talks on the gem and jewelry market during the fair, according to organizers.
In the past, jade and gem emporiums for international buyers were mainly held in Yangon. But after the U Thein Sein government took power in 2010, the emporiums were moved to the national administrative capital of Naypyitaw.
“We intend to develop jewelry making in the country through such exhibitions,” said U Aung Myint, noting that the country mainly exports raw jade and gems rather than finished jewelry items.
The Myanmar Gems and Jewelry Entrepreneurs Association also intends to fight the smuggling of gems and jewelry with such fairs so that the government can earn more revenue from legal trade.
At a press conference for Myanmar Gems and Jewelry Day in Naypyitaw in August, U Myint Han, the Myanmar Gems and Jewelry Entrepreneurs Association’s vice chairman, claimed that there was rampant smuggling of jade and gems to China not because merchants did not want to pay tax but because the trade taxes were too high.
According to the association, more than 1,000 gem merchants and their peers from 36 countries have been invited to this month’s fair.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.