Thai manufacturing and colored gemstones, as well as supreme craftsmanship skills, and the country’s location in the midst of ASEAN, will appeal to the key Hong Kong market, says Mrs. Chanunpat Pisanapipong, Executive Director, Thai Trade Centre – Hong Kong.
Please watch Jewellery Outlook webinar, entitled “Beating the Crisis: Next Step for Thailand-Hong Kong Jewelry Trade.
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In the below interview with Jewellery Outlook Editor David Brough, Mrs. Chanunpat Pisanapipong, Executive Director, Thai Trade Centre – Hong Kong outlines the challenges ahead for Thai-Hong Kong jewelry trade.
What is the structure and nature of the current trading relationship in gemstones and jewellery between Thailand and Hong Kong?
Thailand has always been known as a jewelry hub with rich resources (in particular gemstones), and for its unique craftsmanship passed on through generations.
The skills and workforce in Thailand are not only comparable to international standards, but are also hard to match anywhere else in the world.
Hong Kong is one of the top 3 export destinations for jewelry items from Thailand.
As of Jan – May 2020, Thai jewelry supplied to Hong Kong accounted for a 20.95% share of the total exports from Thailand to Hong Kong.
The trading bond between Hong Kong and Thailand has always been strong. As a result of our strategic partnership followed by the ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement that came into force last year, together with the support provided by the Hong Kong Government (such as funding by the Hong Kong government to SMEs in expanding businesses in the ASEAN region), we believe there will be more opportunities for jewellery trade between Hong Kong and Thailand. Located in the midst of ASEAN, Thailand can act as a springboard for logistics in the gem and jewelry sector.
What impact has the coronavirus pandemic had on this trading relationship?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, not only Thailand and Hong Kong, but all international markets, we believe, have been suffering from various factors, such as a decrease in the demand and supply of luxury products and logistic restrictions, etc.
Meanwhile, the biggest impact has come from the cancellations and rescheduling of international trade fairs, which used to be the major networking platforms for jewelry traders worldwide.
How, in your view, can this trading relationship be expanded and developed?
The Thai government is working relentlessly to support Thai gem and jewelry exports, with a strong focus on Hong Kong, and is looking to boost digital trading opportunities. The GIT-Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand is an internationally respected state-backed body providing lab services to the international trade, including gemstone certification. The trust in the authenticity and reliability of GIT lab services will boost confidence in the efficacy of online trading in jewelry and gemstones.
What are the challenges?
Based on the last question, the outlook for Thailand’s jewelry industry is positive. However, the global economy is undergoing a recession caused by political uncertainties and the pandemic.
To help the Thai jewelry industry overcome such a challenging time, it is important to understand sourcing / consumer behaviors during the pandemic, enhance promotion of Thai products and services, apply digital upgrades, and make continuous efforts in communicating with our strategic partners.