30 Jul 2008, IMNA
Although the US government continues with its sanction on importing gems from Burma, it will not strongly impact the Burmese gem trade, said Burmese gem traders.
President Bush signed a legislation yesterday banning the import of rubies and jades from Burma to the United States to penalise Burma's brutal ruling regime. It has also frozen assets of the generals.
"Trading on board through Hong Kong had been totally stopped. But we are still working trough neighbouring countries and there has been no strong impact in gem trading," a gem trader in Rangoon said.
Demand for jewels in China and Thailand is increasing and it could help balance the loss of market in the US.
"A majority export jade and some high value rubies to China," a trader said.
A majority of traders in upper Burma cross the Sino-Burma border and sell jade in China.
"Selling gems in China is like selling vegetables because the Chinese like jade so much," a Mandalay jade producer and trader said.
According to a trader, although the US government started banning Burmese gem, the gem trade is not really hard hit and trade in Burma has been going on normally.
However the trade has lost major customers in California trough Hong Kong and Singapore. But Burmese gem traders have found markets through neighbours to by pass the sanction.
Gem earns the third major export income for Burma and it has generated 647 million dollars during the 2007-2008 fiscal, according to official statistics.