India Jewelry Industry Adjusts to U.S. Economic Woes

When an economic downturn disrupts the buying habits of the world's largest consumer economy, its effects ripple far and wide. India's jewelry market has been hit especially hard.Sanjay Kothari, former chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, said that jewelry exports from SEEPZ (the special economic zone in Mumbai that promotes rapid economic growth using tax and business incentives to spur exports) to the United States fell by 30 percent during the first six months of 2008. In a country where jewelry accounts for 15 percent of exports and SEEPZ accounted for more than 40 percent of jewelry exports, that's a grim figure.More recently, the demand for diamonds has dropped so dramatically that in October Vasant Mehta, the newly elected chairman of GJEPC, made a plea for the country's diamond manufacturers to reduce their supplies. "They are suffering," Kothari said to

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