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Trade/Gem Sales
June 18, 2007

Special gem sale to boost foreign exchange earnings
Myanmar will hold a special gem sale in Yangon early next month on the basis of competitive bidding system, aimed at boosting foreign exchange earning, said the Central Committee for Sponsoring the Special Sale of Gem, Jade and Pearl on June 17.

Domestic gem traders are being urged to display their quality gems, jade and pearl at the special show scheduled for July 4, and the foreign exchange proceeds from the sale will be designated as legal export earning, the sponsor said.

The country's special gem sale for both foreign and local gem merchants is the third of its kind introduced four years ago in addition to the annual and mid-year ones. During the last special gem sale held in June 2006, nearly 1,500 foreign and local gem traders bid for gems, jade and pearl.

In the 44th annual Myanmar gems emporium held in March this year, which lasted for 13 days, 3,652 lots of jade, gems and pearl were sold out of nearly 6,000 such lots displayed, gaining a record high proceeds of 148 million euros (US$185 million).

That emporium was attended by 3,421 merchants, of whom over 2,000 are foreigners, mostly coming from the Chinese Mainland, China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Thailand.

Myanmar started to hold gem shows annually in 1964, introducing the mid-year one since 1992 and the special one since 2004. Myanmar, a well-known producer of gems in the world, possesses nine gems -- ruby, diamond, cat's eye, emerald, topaz, pearl, sapphire, coral and a variety of garnet tinged with yellow.

To develop gem mining industry, Myanmar enacted the New Gemstone Law in 1995, allowing national entrepreneurs to mine, produce, transport and sell finished gemstone and manufactured jewelry at home and abroad.

Since 2000, the Myanmar government has started mining of gems and jade in joint ventures with 10 private companies under profit sharing basis. Meanwhile, Myanmar will grant 319 new more unexplored jade mining blocks in Kachin state's Moenyin and Sagaing division's Khamhti for engagement by local entrepreneurs in a bid to promote jade production in the country, an earlier report said.

There are six mining areas in Myanmar under gem and jade exploration, namely Mogok, Mongshu, Lonkin/Phakant, Khamhti, Moenyin and Namyar. Jade sale stands as one of Myanmar's major foreign exchange earning undertakings, ranking the fourth largest export earning sector in the fiscal year 2005-06 with US$205.47 million, according to statistics.

Meanwhile, of the top 10 exporters in Myanmar for 2006-07 which were dominated by the state sector, the Myanmar Gems Enterprise stood the third with a gem sale value of US$296.9 million after Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and the Myanmar Timber Enterprise, figures show.

The government's Central Statisitcal Organization revealed that in the fiscal year of 2005-06, Myanmar produced 20,390 tons of jade and 28.458 million carats of gems which include ruby, sapphire, spinel and peridot, as well as 177,692 mommis of pearl. The production in the first half of 2006-07 (April-March) went to 10,388 tons for jade, 10.042 million carats for various gem and 56,607 mommis for pearl.

As the latest development, Myanmar is working to establish the first ever gem merchants' association as part of its bid to enhance the development of the country's gem mining industry.

Myanmar's mining sector, which also includes other minerals such as gold and copper, contributes 0.4 percent to the national economy. PNA/Xinhua

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