Asteria Colored Diamonds

Asteria Colored Diamonds


TechForm Platinum Jewelry Casting

Leibish & Co

Thursday, June 20, 2019

U.S.-China Trade War is the Talk of the June Hong Kong Jewelry Fair

Hong Kong industry leaders talk about the issues at the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair
In September the Hong Kong Jewelry & Gem Fair was closed for a day for the first time in its long history by a typhoon. For the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, two other storms are brewing and both are man-made. The first is the threat by President Donald Trump to slap a 25% tariff on all goods exported from China to the U.S. The second is perhaps the largest protests in the history of Hong Kong, which may continue. 

During the opening day press conference, leaders of the trade organizations from Hong Kong spent a great deal of time talking about the first issue while not mentioning the second at all. 

Lawrence Ma, president of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, says U.S.-China trade tensions are putting pressure on the world economy. 

“Trade uncertainty is what we don’t like,” he said Thursday. “If they agree to something everything would change in a moment. But I think we have to live with this uncertainty for the next few months.” 

Sze Ho Yin, president of the Hong Pearl Association said the increased infrastructure improvements between Hong Kong and China have made it easy for Hong Kong wholesalers and retailers to do business with those from the mainland. 

“About 40% of our buyers are from Mainland China because it is very convenient for buyers from China to come to Hong Kong,” he said. “They are pretty much supporting the jewelry industry (in Hong Kong). It’s very convenient to sell directly to China. Because of this the trade war between the U.S. and China hasn’t had a dramatic effect.” 

Ken Lo, chairman of the Hong Kong Jade & Jewellery Manufacturers, says Hong Kong’s strength as a trading center will mitigate much of the detrimental impact of a trade war. 

“Hong Kong is the number one city in the world in terms of ease when it comes to setting up a business,” he said. “And it has an advantage because of its proximity to China and its ease of trade between the two markets. I think because of this Hong Kong will remain a very important trading center for the entire world.”

The leaders also talked about issues important for the jewelry and gem industry in Hong Kong. For example, Ma spoke about some of the myriad of issues the diamond industry is facing. They include the difficulty of financing for much of the diamond trade, the effect of lab-grown diamonds and the steady decline of sales among Hong Kong retailers. 

He said diamond imports in Hong Kong are down 2.8% for the first three months of the year compared to last year. Meanwhile, exports are up by 9.1% for the same period. On the retail level, there are more Chinese tourists visiting Hong Kong but they are spending less, he said. 

“The good news is that there are more Chinese coming,” he said. “The bad news is spending has come down significantly. Overall, it’s a good trend.”

Lo spent much of his presentation talking about how technology is changing the jewelry industry. The items he covered included:

* Lab-grown diamonds and how it has taken up some jewelry industry sales.

* CAD-CAM technology is speeding up the process from design to finished jewels and is a catalyst when in terms of allowing retail customers the ability to design their own jewels.

* The decline of distributors because manufacturers are using the Internet and social media to go directly to retailers and consumers.  

Yin said the Hong Kong pearl industry is working with China to develop a freshwater pearl industry to replace the Akoya pearl.