Annual gems fair begins in Myanmar

Myanmar's annual gems emporium began here Wednesday, putting the country's quality gems, jade, pearl and jewelry worth of 73.5 million U.S. dollars on sale to boost foreign exchange earning.

The 43rd annual gem show, sponsored by the state-run Myanmar Gems Enterprise and to last till March 24, is held on the basis of competitive bidding and tender, and gem items displayed this year are more than the previous years in quantity, said Deputy Minister of Mines U Myint Thein here.

He added that the foreign exchange proceeds will be designated as legal export earning.

The emporium expects to draw 1,000 gem traders of over 260 companies from over 10 countries and regions, mostly from China, China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Thailand, he told a news briefing.

In the annual and mid-year events in March and October 2005, 29 million U.S. dollars and 47.3 million dollars worth of locally- produced quality gems items were put on sale respectively.

Myanmar started to hold gem shows annually in 1964 and since then the country has earned a total of over 500 million U.S. dollars from such events including the mid-year ones introduced since 1992 and the special sale since 2004, according to official statistics.

Myanmar is a well-known producer of nine kinds of gems -- ruby, diamond, cat's eye, emerald, topaz, pearl, sapphire, coral and a variety of garnet tinged with yellow and it has three famous gem lands -- Mogok in Mandalay division, Mongshu in Shan state and Phakant in Kachin state.

To boost 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.

From 2000, the government began to mine gems and jade in joint venture with 10 private companies under profit sharing basis.

Source: Xinhua

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