Sri Lanka needs stronger laws, value addition to develop gem trade

August 31, 2007 (LBO) – Updating laws on gem mining and trade, value addition and better certification methods will help Sri Lanka to develop the country’s gem industry, officials said. Minister of export development and international trade G L Peiris, opening the Facets2007 gem exhibition said the country’s policy structure that addresses the concerns of the gem trade is somewhat outdated and it has to be reformed to suit the current developments.

“Some of our laws (on gem mining) are outdated and there is a bit of confusion. There has to be proper coordination on the rights of the soil owner and environmental consideration,”

Sri Lanka, one of the five source countries for gems in the world, has long exported gems with little value addition.

The private sector exporters and the government have now come together to develop the sector, with the emergence of competitors and consumers such as China, India, Korea, Russia, United Arab Emirates and others.

“Value addition is the way forward for all our main industries, and value addition will create opportunities for employment. It will also enable us to achieve a much higher threshold of profits,” Peiris says.

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