China is attempting to corner supply of rough diamonds by pushing for direct deals with African countries and thus posing a threat to the nation's gems and jewellery trade, a study released by industry body Assocham said today.
"With China constantly pushing for direct deals with African governments, attempting to corner supply of rough diamonds, its time for government to be alert," Chairperson of Assocham's Gujarat Council Bhagyesh Soneji said while releasing the study.
"We should go for enhancing barter trade with Africa. We should have a channel or escrow account through which trade could be channelised, it would be very beneficial," she said.
If trends are anything to go by, Surat, which accounts for about 95 per cent of the world's diamond trade, may loose its crown of 'The Diamond City' to China, according to the study.
Expressing concern over Surat-based diamond polishing units considering to relocating, Assocham said it could affect employment scenario there.
Currently, about six lakh people are employed in Surat's diamond trade and an additional two lakh elsewhere in Gujarat.
Even as the study apprehends trouble for the trade from China, it has projected that exports of cut and polished diamonds from India would br about USD 39 billion by 2016 and rise further to USD 54 billion by 2020, from the current levels of USD 23 billion.
According to the study, 2010-11 saw UAE emerge as the biggest (47 per cent) destination for India's gems and jewellery trade followed by Hong Kong and USA with shares of 22 and 11 per cent respectively.