Director-General of the Department of International Trade Promotion, Srirat Rastapana (ศรีรัตน์ รัษฐปานะ), said that the public and private sectors had met constantly to prepare Thailand in various sectors for achieving the goal of becoming a global gem and jewelry trading center.
Toward this aim, she said, the Department of International Trade Promotion has set strategies for developing and promoting the Thai gem and jewelry industry. The strategies include enhancing the competitiveness of the industry in terms of production, processing, designing, and management. They also seek to study marketing in foreign markets and develop personnel in the gem and jewelry business to cope with business expansion.
In this regard, she said, Thai entrepreneurs need to develop their products with an emphasis on quality and creativity, so that Thai gems and jewelry products would gain more recognition in the world market.
As creativity is found in the production of Thai gems and jewelry, these products have been classified as creative goods. The Government has a policy to develop and promote Thai gems and jewelry in order to add value to these creative goods for entrepreneurs, designers, and craftsmen.
The gemstone and jewelry industry is also among Thailand’s top foreign exchange earners. It generates employment for 1.1 million people in the country.
Mrs. Srirat said that, from January to September this year, Thai gem and jewelry exports amounted to 10.9 billion US dollars, an increase of 11 percent over the same period of last year. Major markets with more export growth include Hong Kong, Germany, and Japan. The global economic slowdown has led to the decline in Thai gem and jewelry exports to the United States by 9 percent, India by 22 percent, and Belgium by 0.3 percent. However, exports to emerging markets, such as the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon are on the rise.
Thailand successfully exported 12.3 billion dollars of gems and jewelry products last year. Exporters hope to maintain exports this year at close to the level of last year.
Thailand is famous for the fine craftsmanship of its jewelers, especially in setting each piece of jewelry by hand. The quality of Thai gems and jewelry, with a variety of materials and designs, is also recognized internationally. All types of manufacturing processes are available in Thailand, from mass production to fine handcrafted pieces of jewelry.
The Government will launch campaigns to promote the image of Thai gems and jewelry, and it will ask the private sector to help provide training for skill development in this industry.