New Delhi - India needs a robust institutional mechanism to help boost jewellery exports, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
Addressing the Gold Summit, organised by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Prabhu also suggested that efforts be made to bring in the best global designers in the jewellery sector to compete in the international market.
"With the organised support that the industry as well as the government can provide, we can create an institutionalised mechanism that is necessary to increase exports of the gold jewellery," he said.
The Minister's remarks come against the backdrop of official data last month showing that exports of Indian gems and jewellery declined nearly 25% to $3.3 billion in October, from 4.4 billion in the same month last year.
The Commerce Minister also spoke favourably about stakeholders' earlier suggestions for setting up a Gold Board on the lines of those existing for some other commodities.
Addressing the gathering, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said the government is considering a relook at the import duty on gold in order to curtail the arbitrage opportunities resulting from free trade agreements but without hurting the genuine requirement of business.
Her comment came in the wake of a surge in gold imports earlier this year from South Korea, which signed an FTA with India in 2010. In August this year, the Indian government responded by restricting imports of gold and silver items from South Korea.
Gold imports from South Korea more than quintupled to $339 million between July-August this year over the same period last year.
Interacting with reporters on the sidelines, Prabhu said he had told industry stakeholders to target $25-30 billion worth of gold jewellery exports in the next few years.
"India has a large stock of gold... a lot of it in homes. Our artisans, who do such marvellous work, with the requisite marketing, their designs have great potential to boost exports," he said.