Diasporan Jewelers Rate Yerevan Forum a Success

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Forum of Armenian Jewelers decided on establishing a Center of Armenian Jewelers.

This authority is intended to have regional importance–particularly–in conditions when none of CIS-member countries has an organization dealing with issues of jewelry production. The Forum also took a decision to create a web page on the Internet which would include all information on jewelry production and diamond processing in Armenia. The web page will be created jointly with Armenia’s Information Department.

It is planned to convene a constituent assembly of Armenian jewelers next year. Also–the production of the Armenian Jewelry Industry will be shown at an exhibition in Basel–Gagik Eghiazarian–Deputy Industry and Trade Minister of Armenia’said at a Friday news conference.

He described the Forum as a preliminary meeting and said that an active work on development of cooperation in the field of jewelry production was planned.

The huge volume of work will be implemented by "Shoghakn" diamond processing enterprise–Eghiazarian said. One of the well-known jeweler–Ambassador of Armenia to Belgium Haik Arslanian highly estimated the results of the Forum.

He noted that the major task of the Forum and the planned cooperation was to ensure normal functioning of factories manufacturing jewelry.

He stressed the importance of resolving the problem of competitiveness of the Armenia-made jewelry and processed diamonds. Arslanian said that it was necessary that diamonds processed in Armenia could compete with similar production–coming from some Eastern countries. However currently the processing of 1 carat costs $25 in Armenia–whereas in South-East Asia countries it makes up $12-15.

Shoghakn enterprise manager Gagik Abrahamian voiced confidence that the production of diamonds has prospects in Armenia. He reported that currently Armenia imports processed diamonds worth about $50 million.

Arslanian said that a favorable investment climate has been created in Armenia. He described as passive the position of the Armenian entrepreneurs from Diaspora in relation to Homeland and called on them to be more active in rendering assistance to Armenia.

The laws adopted by the National Assembly of Armenia are far from being always in effect–the Chairman of the Industrialists and Businessmen Union of Armenia–Aram Vardanian–said at the Forum adding that businessmen often came up against bureaucratic procrastination–particularly in the tax and the customs spheres. He also pointed out that it was very difficult to develop production without solving the current problems related to high taxes and high interest rates for credits lent by Armenian banks.

IBUA–which represents the interests of a wide range of businessmen–is trying to overcome the current difficulties. According to Vardanian–a businessman does not get profits after investing in an enterprise at least for three or four years. Thus–exemption from the profit tax for two years (in accordance with norms currently in force) will not solve the problems of businessmen and investors.

Vardanian pointed out that jewelry production and diamond processing yielded 10 percent of the gross volume of production in Armenia. They do not require large volumes of raw material and are aimed at involving highly skilled labor force. The Institute of Laser Engineering has developed new technologies to foster the development in those fields.

According to Vardanian–if implemented–the programs of development of the diamond and jewelry production will provide for to create some 15,000 new jobs in that field.

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