The GJEPC has asked for a reduction in import duty of gold from present 12% to 4%Even As Indian gems and jewellery exports are struggling to meet the $40-billion-mark that was achieved last fiscal, the Union commerce ministry has chalked out strategies to achieve $80 billion worth of exports in the next five years through setting up common facility centres across the country that will move gems and jewellery up the value chain, especially in designs. This will create wider market access across the globe, crucial to take India towards a $ 5-trillion economy.Rupa Dutta, economic advisor, ministry of commerce said a global slowdown and trade uncertainties across the globe has prompted World Trade Organisation (WTO) to down grade gold trade. But according to World Gold Council report, gold demand declined 38% in the second half of the fiscal after a 65% demand growth in the first half. The report says annual buying of gold reached 650.3 tonne, the second highest level in 50 years, only 6 tonne less than in 2018.Nevertheless, India’s gold jewellery exports increased 5% at $ 8.48 billion between April to November, though diamond exports dropped 19% to $ 13 billion during the same period with overall gems and jewellery exports declining 6% to $ 25 billion during April to November in the current fiscal.“We are pushing $40 billion worth of exports this fiscal, the same that of last fiscal,” Dutta said. Though she agreed that growth has been muted this fiscal despite opportunities in the US market with Chinese exports of gold jewellery contracting, the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) was gearing up for newer market access and that it has targeted Russia, Brazil, UK, Vietnam, Singapore, France Italy, Germany, South Africa, Qatar, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia for exports of diamond and gold jewellery.China accounts for 13% of US gold jewellery but with the ongoing US-China trade war, US has imposed higher duty on Chinese jewellery exports whereas Indian exports are still cheaper.US, UAE and Hong Kong already account for 80% of Indian jewellery exports but to reach $80 billion worth of exports in the next five years, the commerce ministry has planned setting up 13 common facility centres (CFCs) across the country, which will enable manufacturing quality gold jewellery with more advanced design at par with the global trend at a much lower cost.So far, four CFCs have been set up in Gujarat, which are mainly cutting and polishing diamonds, the fifth CFC is going to come up in Coimbatore and sixth in Kolkata. The ground breaking of Kolkata CFS was done on Thursday. Kolkata CFC will mainly facilitate handcrafted jewellery, which needs to be popularised in the global markets, Pramod Agarwal , chairman, GJEPC, said.The 13 CFCs will come out of the 72 jewellery clusters identified across the country and the ministry of commerce will do the entire funding for setting up the 13 CFCS, Dutta added. Each CFC will be set up on 2,500 sq feet of space entailing an investment of Rs 4 crore each.The GJEPC has asked for a reduction in import duty of gold from present 12% to 4% and a reduction in import duty of diamond from present 7% to 2.5%, which will facilitate more trade and help in increasing the volume of manufacturing. India imports most of its diamonds from Belgium and gold from Dubai and Switzerland, Sabyasachi Ray, executive director GJEPC said.