India's IIJS show opens against tough economic backdrop

MUMBAI, August 23, 2012 - The India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) has opened in a tough economic environment, but officials talked of strong foreign participation at the event and prospects for it to expand in future years.

Rajiv Jain, Chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), told the opening ceremony that economic conditions were challenging in India because key export markets such as the United States and Europe were subdued.

The weak rupee and an increased gold import duty, which had reduced gold imports to India, had contributed to soft demand for jewellery in India. The weak rupee makes imports of dollar-denominated goods such as gold more costly.

Despite the economic clouds, attendance at IIJS 2012 was buoyant, with 69 countries represented at the show, up from 54 last year, Jain said in his opening speech.

IIJS 2012, seen as a barometer for jewellery demand, was crammed with 852 exhibitors and 1,700 booths.

Jain said the India International Jewellery Week (IIJW), which culminates with a Grand Finale catwalk fashion and jewellery show on the evening of August 23, had helped to promote India's diverse jewellery design talent.

Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma talked of the importance of creating a first-class convention centre in Mumbai to host events like IIJS which currently has a long waiting list.

He also said India's presence in fashion jewellery and accessories markets was minimal and needed a boost.

Referring to the increased gold import duty, the minister said, "I am sure that the industry can absorb it, and that they will grow."

IIJS runs until August 27.



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