GJEPC leads gem and jewellery industry to voice industry grievances at USTR hearing
The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council led a group of jewellery industry delegates at the virtual U.S. Trade Representative multi-jurisdictional hearing to voice grievances over a proposed import duty hike.
On May 10, the GJEPC and a group of gem and jewellery trade bodies and large-scale exporters presented their case against a proposed import duty hike to 25% on 17 Indian jewellery items in the U.S., the GJEPC reported on its website.
“The perception of injustice would lead to real-life consequences such as loss of jobs and livelihoods and a shift of business to countries such as China and Mexico,” said GJEPC chairman Colin Shah at the virtual hearing, the GJEPC reported.
“American jewellery companies also bank on Indian companies to fund their business by giving long credit and memo facilities, which would have major repercussions. Indian companies have established an estimated 500 offices around the U.S that provide thousands of high-paying white collar jobs to locals; the imposition of duty could affect all these jobs as the Indo-U.S. jewellery business would become unviable.”
Shah also criticised the USTR for its timing for the proposed import duty hike, stating that the pandemic has already significantly affected Indian jewellery export businesses. Further financial turmoil for the sector, which the GJEPC argued the duty hike would cause, could lead to mass-scale unemployment, it argued.
“The apprehension is that if the high duty is imposed on India, then instead of jewellery that might be coming from here, retailers might look at opportunities at importing from other countries,” said Suvankar Sen of Senco Gold Limited, also convenor of the GJEPC’s Special Economic Zone Sub-committee.
“This is just a surmise and a risk, which is always a possibility. So, an unnecessary duty may be a disincentive for retailers to source from India directly.”
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