More Western buyers expected at first gems emporium since US sanctions lifted

The first gems and jade emporium since the United States lifted sanctions against Myanmar is expected to attract more Western buyers when it opens in Nay Pyi Taw later this month, a government minister said.

Minister for Natural Resources and Environment Conservation U Ohn Win made the prediction in an address to the main organising committee for the gems emporiums in the capital on November 3, the state-controlled Global New Light of Myanmar reported.

Traders from 21 countries and territories have been invited to the emporium from November 20 to 29, at which about 8,000 lots of jade, gems and pearls will go on sale, reports said.

Trading will be in euros because there was not enough time to switch to dollars following the formal removal in early October of most US sanctions, which included a ban on importing gems and jade. Trading in euros was introduced several years ago partly to skirt the effects of the sanctions.

Jade pieces valued at less than €200,000 (about K282 million, US$218,000) will be sold through open tender and more valuable lots will be sold by auction, the GNLM reported.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

Officials said the move was expected to help boost sales, which plunged to about €600 million (about $654 million at current exchange rates) at the emporium held in July, down from €900 million in December 2015.

The July 2014 emporium set a sales record of more than €2.6 billion.

However, demand in China, the main market for Myanmar jade, has eased significantly since then because of a slowing economy and President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters

Our fortnightly magazine is available in print, digital, or a combination beginning at $80 a year

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar