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ASEAN Jewellers Form AGJA to Aid Free Trade, Spur Regional Growth

Southeast Asian gemstone and jewellery traders formally established the ASEAN Gems & Jewellery Association (AGJA) to bolster multilateral trade and promote regional growth, according to media reports.

At the ASEAN Gems & Jewellery Conference 2019 in Istanbul-Turkey, AGJA Chairman Suttipong Damrongsakul said AGJA comprises industry leaders from the 10 Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) states plus participating or supporting countries. ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“The main purpose of the association is to build regional growth strategies; share industry knowledge, technology and expertise among member states; and make trading easier through a unified tax system,” Damrongsakul said on the sidelines of the event.

Among the association’s initial projects is the creation of a vocational training school for gemstone and jewellery manufacturers in Yangon, Myanmar; and AGJA’s participation in the first International Chanthaburi Gems and Jewellery Festival in December.

AGJA is also planning to develop a jewellery industry roadmap for ASEAN and to hold an ASEAN jewellery exhibition. The Next AGJA is scheduled for March 2020 in Hong Kong, which is a member of the AGJA. According to Ken Lo, chairman of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers Association, Hong Kong’s participation in AGJA is anchored on the city’s relevance in the global gemstone and jewellery trade.

“Hong Kong is looking for new opportunities since it has become harder to trade with the US, which is a major market. But ASEAN is the third-largest consumer market in the world. With the formation of AGJA, we aim to strengthen Hong Kong’s relationship with ASEAN. AGJA provides a platform to exchange ideas between members and participant countries,” noted Lo.

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