Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to India: Diamond trade, investments on agenda

Collaboration in diamond polishing and processing and improving Israeli investment in India are expected to be on the agenda during the four-day visit by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, starting Sunday, an official said. India will also push for increased trade and investment with Israel. Bilateral trade was $5.04 billion in 2016-17, rising 2.3 per cent in 2016-17 after four consecutive years of declines.

The two-way trade involves $3.08 billion of exports and $1.96 billion of imports. Raw non-industrial diamonds figure significantly, contributing more than $1 billion to both imports and exports. India is the largest exporter of polished diamonds, sending out more than 75 per cent of the world’s supply, and Israel is the second largest. Israel, for long the top exporter of polished diamonds to the US, the world’s largest buyer, was last year overtaken by India.

“Israel has high manufacturing costs that are forcing firms to send small raw diamonds to India for processing,” said Praveen Shankar Pandya, former chairman of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council. In the absence of a job work policy, India was losing some of these contracts, which were moving to China and Vietnam, he added. A job work policy allows consignments of a particular good to be shipped to another country to be worked upon, after which they are sent back.

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