Indo-Russian Ties in the Diamond Sector Take a Giant Leap

Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, INDIA Signs MoC with Russian Diamond Giant ALROSA at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in the Presence of Indian Prime Minister In a historical development marking an important milestone in the relations between the Indian and Russian diamond industries, The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), India’s apex body representing the gems and jewellery export trade and PJSC ALROSA, Russia’s largest Diamond Mining company — today signed a Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) in the presence of India’s Prime Minister, Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi and Russia’s President Mr. Vladimir Putin.

The MoC signed in the presence of India’s Prime Minister, Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi and Russia’s President Mr. Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Russia, is significant, amongst other reasons as:

· It marks a leap forward in the co-operation between the two biggest entities representing two different segments of the diamond industry – India is the largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in the world with the greatest share in both value and volume terms of the market; and ALROSA is the largest volume producer of rough diamonds.

· The co-operation between the two giants in the areas of generic marketing of diamonds will have a game changing impact on the international diamond industry.

The MoC covers significant areas, including, primarily:

· Trade Development

It was during the World Diamond Conference held in 2014 at New Delhi, in a session addressed by President Putin and Hon’ble PM Modi that the latter had made the announcement about the Government of India’s decision to set up a Special Notification Zone (SNZ). The first SNZ is up and running for viewing of goods from international mining companies within the complex of the Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai.

The MoC outlines GJEPC’s intention to strive to establish a special tax regime so that direct sales can be conducted out of the India Diamond Trading Centre (IDTC); and for ALROSA to explore the ways of establishing a representative office within the BDB, with the possibility of transitioning it to a sales office.

The MoC also provides for a greater exchange of information on trade figures; and technology.

· Generic Promotion of Diamond

The MoC reiterates the avowed commitment to promotion of diamonds. With the aim to uphold and promote the diamond consumer equity and sustainable growth of the market the Parties shall cooperate on the development of diamond generic marketing campaigns.

The GJEPC will share information on the specifics of consumer demand for diamonds in India, while supporting ALROSA’s international efforts (via the Diamond Producers Association) for generic marketing campaigns.

· Synthetic Diamond Detection

ALROSA and the GJEPC resolved to make stringent efforts to maintain separate pipelines for natural and synthetic diamonds.

Co-operation in this area covers exchange of information on cases of mixing; promoting the introduction of legislation for mandatory disclosure of synthetics; GJEPC encouraging the use of ALROSA’s detection devices; and ALROSA joining India’s Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee (NDMC).

GJEPC Chairman Mr. Praveenshankar Pandya commented: “The signing of the Memorandum of Co-operation is extremely significant due to several reasons. Most importantly, it takes forward the aspirations of the Indian diamond industry which is aligned with the vision of our Hon’ble Prime Minister to develop India as an international Diamond Trading Hub, as it outlines GJEPC’s serious endeavour to get a policy framework on taxation put into place for the SNZs. It is also the first step towards ALROSA setting up a rough diamond representative office within the country. For long, GJEPC has been encouraging diamond mining companies to sell rough diamonds directly to the Indian market, and the MoC may well be the first step to realise this goal.

“Moreover, the mixing of synthetic diamonds with natural diamonds, and the consequent threat to consumer confidence, is one of the biggest challenges facing the diamond industry worldwide. The GJEPC has taken the lead in dealing with this issue by setting up of the Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee (NDMC), which has been doing stellar work. Other companies and bodies have also come forward to tackle this challenge. Now, if the two most important and largest entities combine their efforts in a focussed manner, this will no doubt have a tremendous impact on the entire diamond industry”.

“Further, the need for generic marketing of diamonds has been felt by the industry for some time now. For many years, the GJEPC has been making endeavours to galvanise the entire world trade to take concerted and cohesive action for diamond promotions. In this area too, the joint efforts of GJEPC and ALROSA will have an extremely beneficial impact at an international level.”

The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) was set up by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India (GoI) in 1966. It was one of several Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) launched by the Indian Government, to boost the country’s export thrust, when India’s post-Independence economy began making forays in the international markets. Since 1998, the GJEPC has been granted autonomous status. The GJEPC is the apex body of the gems & jewellery industry and today it represents almost 6000 exporters in the sector. With headquarters in Mumbai, the GJEPC has Regional Offices in New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Surat and Jaipur, all of which are major centres for the industry. It thus has a wide reach and is able to have a closer interaction with members to serve them in a direct and more meaningful manner. Over the past decades, the GJEPC has emerged as one of the most active EPCs, and has continuously strived to both expand its reach and depth in its promotional activities as well as widen and increase services to its members.

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