Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Madagascar trip

TRADE: Deputy Commerce Minister Wiroon Techapaiboon will lead a trade mission to Madagascar in mid-July, with the African nation's ban on exports of gems and precious rough stones high on the agenda.

Mr Wiroon said that the ban, which took effect in February, delivered a big blow to Thai jewellers as they were facing a shortage of raw materials.

The Thai jewellery industry depends mostly on imported raw materials. Most of the rough stones and gems imported from Madagascar are sapphires and rubies.

Daniel E.H. Dele'vauz, the honorary consul of Madagascar said that lifting the ban just for Thailand was unlikely, but he said joint ventures between the two countries to set up cutting factories in Madagascar were highly viable.

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