Mumbai, Feb 23 : Categorically denying reports of a "four-fold surge" in imports of diamonds from "unspecified" locations in April-November 2017, the Gem (and) Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) on Friday said that exports actually came down 14.44 percent as compared to the same period in 2016.
"The actual imports of cut and polished diamonds for this period (April-Nov 2017) stand at (Dollar) 1,527.43 million as compared to (Dollar) 1,785.17 million for April-November 2016, and represent a decline of 14.44 percent," the GJEPC said in a statement.
Referring to certain media reports, it termed them as based on "provisional figures and discrepancies in the data published on the website of the Directorate-General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Kolkata".
It said that the total figure of (Dollar) 6.3 billion cited as imports of cut and polished diamonds comprises two distinct categories - Actual Imports and Return Consignments, both terms officially used by the Customs Department.
Actual Imports, it said, represents the actual imports and based on monetary transactions, have actually declined by 14.44 percent in the current fiscal, while Return Consignments, comprising gems and jewellery including diamonds taken abroad for exhibitions, export or brand promotions purposes, and diamonds and gemstones sent abroad for certification by international laboratories which are always returned with certificates, are generally consignment exports where, as per statute, no monetary transactions are involved, it said.
"The figures for Return Consignments recorded by GJEPC are (Dollar) 4,945 million in April-Nov 2017, which is almost the same as the (Dollar) 4,978 million in April-Nov 2016," it said.
Accordingly, the "consignment imports cannot be termed as imports" in a real sense, but are only "certified exports" for re-import.
They are goods that go out of the country, but may come back if unsold or are meant to come back in case of certification and so at Customs, "no import duty is also levied due to the same reason".
Moreover, in all consignment exports that have to be compulsorily imported back, the country of origin is mentioned as India, the GJEPC clarified, and these consignments are reflected as being of "unspecified" origin in the DGCI (and) S data.
Another reason for the inaccurate figures lies in the "low base effect" as a result that till October 2016, the data of these "unspecified imports were not captured at all in DGCI (and) S".
While the current year's April-November figures have been recorded as (Dollar) 6,326 million, the figures for April-November 2016 have been shown as (Dollar) 1,586 million in the DGCI (and) S website.
As per the data collected by GJEPC, this 2016 figure should have been (Dollar) 6,763 million.
Hence, a comparison of the correct figure of Gross Imports of Cut and Polished diamonds for the two years shows there is actually a decline of 4.3 per cent, rather than a 'surge' of 284 per cent as alleged in a media report.
The difference is only due to the fact that data on gross polished imports was not captured properly by DGCI (and) S till last year, it said.
While this is being captured properly only from the financial year 2017-18, earlier records have not yet been updated to reflect this change, the GJEPC said.