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IJEX will open a window to the Indian jewellery industry for UAE buyers: Sabyasachi Ray, GJEPC Executive Director

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Ray shares his insights on launch of the India Jewellery Exposition Centre (IJEX) and how it will benefit Indian MSME jewellery retailers to expand their footprint abroad

The India Jewellery Exposition Centre (IJEX), the 365-day exhibition platform inaugurated recently in Dubai by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), to commemorate the first anniversary of the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), will aid GJEPC members, particularly those who do not have regular representation in Dubai, and help them establish contacts, develop markets and invest in Dubai. It will also give GJEPC members a platform to display their goods and book orders in the UAE from overseas buyers throughout the year.

Here, Sabyasachi Ray, Executive Director, GJEPC shares his views on IJEX with The Retail Jeweller.

How and when did the idea of IJEX originate? How long did it take to gradually take shape?

The idea was always there to create a platform for our members, especially the MSME members, to exhibit and connect with buyers from the UAE, one of the largest export markets for Indian gems and jewellery. I am glad that GJEPC was able to launch the first edition of the exhibition at India Jewellery Exposition Centre (IJEX) in Dubai in celebration of the 1st anniversary of India-UAE CEPA. The IJEX, from concept to creation and organising the first edition, took more than two years.

Which are the specific categories of ‘Made in India’ gems and jewellery being promoted through it?

Generally, UAE accounts for 80% of India’s plain gold jewellery exports. However, post the India-UAE CEPA, we not only witnessed growth in plain gold jewellery exports to UAE (grew 12.67% to $ 2.05 billion) but all other verticals of the sector, including cut and polished diamonds (grew 19.68% to $ 1.97 billion); studded gold jewellery grew 19.49% to $ 1.13 billion; silver jewellery (grew 13.78% to 13.13 million); coloured gemstones (grew 52% to $ 12.19 million). Therefore, our objective is to uncover and generate opportunities for all our members across various categories, enabling them to exhibit their offerings and establish connections with buyers not only from the UAE but also from other international markets.

What were the challenges in the way of setting up the 365-day exhibition platform? Do any challenges persist?

Establishing the first-ever exposition centre in Dubai was an enriching experience. We were fortunate to receive tremendous support from the UAE and the Indian Government in bringing this centre to fruition. Notably, the esteemed Minister of Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal, graced the inauguration of IJEX last year. I take this opportunity to thank both the Indian Government and the government of UAE for their support in setting up the exposition centre in Dubai.

What more can be done so that Indian jewellers can take better advantage of the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)?

CEPA offers Indian jewellery manufacturers a dual advantage. Firstly, it ensures that the raw material, gold, is available at a discount of 1%, which is a significant advantage considering the slim profit margins in gold jewellery. Additionally, when these manufacturers export their products, they enjoy a 5% competitive edge in pricing in UAE against other competing nations. This encourages Indian retailers to invest in Dubai, enabling them to capitalize on the benefits offered by CEPA fully.

The Indian Government has successfully conducted awareness campaigns and workshops to educate Indian exporters about the specific provisions and benefits of the CEPA. I think we should be organising more such awareness campaigns, which will ensure that exporters are well-informed about the opportunities available to them from time to time. Regarding gem and jewellery, GJEPC can also provide market research and intelligence reports to our member jewellers, focusing on the UAE market. This information will help our members to understand the preferences, trends, and demands of the target market, enabling them to tailor their offerings accordingly.

Further, the annual International Gem & Jewellery Show (IGJS), organised by GJEPC in Dubai, has been instrumental in facilitating direct interaction between Indian jewellers and potential buyers. In addition to this event, we can explore the organization of product-specific buyer-seller meets, which will further strengthen the trade relationships and foster meaningful connections between both nations.

What next? What are your plans for the IJEX, going ahead?

Going ahead, India can look at jewellers from UAE setting up their manufacturing facilities in India, while Indian retailers could consider setting up their shops in Dubai. Looking forward, the IJEX can play a crucial role as a bridge between India and the UAE by providing buyers in UAE with a window into the offerings of the Indian jewellery industry. We are also encouraging MSME exporters to leverage the opportunities presented by CEPA and IJEX, as this can result in their business expansion on a global scale.

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