The 16th Congress of the International Colored Gem Stone Association, which is slated to be held from May 16th to 19th at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, was inaugurated by President Maithripala Sirisena who is also the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment on Sunday.
Accordingly, the event anticipates a participation of over 250 delegates from over 60 countries as the island hopes to achieve its ambitious plans to increase export of local gems to USD 1 billion by the end of the year.
The State Minister for Environment Pavithra Wanniarachchi and the Deputy Minister of Mahaweli Development Wasantha Aluwihare are also expected to grace the opening ceremony. The Congress which is being held in Sri Lanka for the second time after 26 years is looked at by experts as an industry specific impetus.
“The industry is presently valued at USD $500 million and although we have a lot more to do in order to reach the target, ICA Congress is a decisive and contributing factor to this sector,” said K .A. D. Dayasagara, the Deputy Director General of the National Gem and Jewelry Authority.
“On the onset, ICA will help bolster trade relations, renew existing ones and give this industry, the much-needed impetus whilst showcasing the rest of the world, what Sri Lanka has to offer beyond raw gems.”
The Congress will feature an exclusive FACETS trade show and a Small and Medium Enterprise Gem Pavilion organized by the Sri Lanka Gem & Jewelry Authority for the attending delegates.
Commenting on the technical sessions, Chairman of the 2015 ICA Congress Organizing Committee A.H.M Imtizam cited that the knowledge imparted will undoubtedly benefit every merchant and manufacturer in the trade, be it local or foreign.
The outcome of this collaboration between industry leading experts he says will result in developments that would change the face of the industry for both retailers and consumers.
Meanwhile, Director of ICA to Sri Lanka, Dr. Gamini Zoyza mentioned that the line-up of speakers includes prominent personalities and experts who would speak on a wide array of topics.
“There will also be a special presentation on all gems and jewelry sourced from Sri Lanka which are now part of the Royal English Heirloom, something which many don’t know much about,” he said. “The congress will also aid those who are in the industry to learn more about foreign markets and jewelry trends.”
The main organizer of the 16th Congress is the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelry Association, the National Gem & Jewelry Authority with collaboration from the Export Development Board.