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China's Polished Diamond Imports +127% in 1Q

Tighter controls and strong domestic demand contribute to surge.
May 27, 2010 4:31 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... China’s polished diamond imports rose 127 percent year over year to $260 million in the first quarter of 2010, according to data published by the Diamond Administration of China (DAC).

The administration explained that the increases were the result of both tighter controls designed to prevent smuggling and continued strength in the domestic market. In January, Shenzen Customs officials busted a smuggling ring, detaining 50 people, including 33 foreigners, which served as a wake-up call to traders to work through the correct channels.

China imposes a 4 percent value-added tax (VAT) on polished imports, while the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE) serves as a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) where goods and stones can be brought in on a temporary basis for three months without being taxed.

The overall diamond trade conducted through the SDE, including normal and temporary imports and exports, doubled to $523 million during the first quarter, with an additional $35 million being traded between members. Another $679,300 worth of rough diamonds for manufacturing was also imported through the SDE. Rough goods for manufacturing and processing are not required to pass through the exchange, based on Chinese legislation.

Polished imports through the SDE rose 31 percent year over year to $699 million in 2009  as China surpassed Japan as the number-two consumer market for polished diamonds, after the U.S.
The exchange had 253 members at the end of the first quarter of 2010.

Tags: Avi Krawitz, Avi Krawitz, China, Japan, Manufacturing, Shanghai Diamond Exchange
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