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India Trade Delays Import Freeze to June 1

Postponement gives companies time to complete outstanding shipments.
May 20, 2020 3:55 AM   By Joshua Freedman
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RAPAPORT... The Indian diamond trade has postponed its one-month freeze on rough imports until June 1 to give companies more time to complete outstanding shipments.

The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and four other industry bodies had originally called for a pause in imports from May 15. They announced the plan on April 23, allowing around three weeks to import goods they had already bought.

But companies were unable to bring those diamonds into the country because of a nationwide lockdown and shipping restrictions, the GJEPC explained Tuesday in a letter to members, seen by Rapaport News. The international movement of merchandise has since recommenced, and customs services are operational in Mumbai and Surat, it noted.

As a result, the groups now recommend members reduce rough imports from June 1 until June 30, giving them the rest of May to take receipt of outstanding orders. It will reconsider the situation in late June.

“We are well aware of the suggestion to curtail imports for a longer period, but believe any such decision needs to be taken on periodical review,” the GJEPC said. “Such a review…will be done in the last week of June, and [a] decision will be communicated to all.”

The GJEPC made the April 23 plea together with the Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai, the Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association, the Surat Diamond Bourse and the Surat Diamond Association. The council stressed the freeze was voluntary.

“We request members to consider following the [recommendation] to help preserve [inventory value] and maintain the strength of the industry,” the GJEPC urged.

India’s diamond sector has slumped since the coronavirus crisis began, as demand fell initially in China and Hong and later in Europe and the US. Polished exports fell 48% to $960.5 million in March, while rough imports plunged 65% to $292.7 million, according to data from the GJEPC.

The country has been under lockdown since March 24 due to the pandemic. On Sunday, the government extended the restrictions until May 31.

Image: A rough diamond. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: Bruce Cleaver, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, GJEPC, India, Joshua Freedman, Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association, Rapaport News, rough imports, Surat Diamond Association, Surat Diamond Bourse
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