A delegation representing the United States gemstone and jewelry industry traveed to Myanmar (Burma) to hold bilateral trade talks.
The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) led by President Jeffrey Bilgore, CEO Douglas Hucker, the Jewelers of America (JA) President and CEO David J. Bonaparte, and the GIA's Dr. Jim Shigley, undertook the trip in order to re-establish direct lines of trade between Myanmar and the United States.
“Our goal in coming here is to demonstrate that the gem sector in Myanmar is as worthy as any in the world, and that responsible commerce can only help all of us improve and make democracy stronger," said Bilgore.
“We are here to share with the people of Myanmar what our U.S. trade associations do to ensure product integrity, increase consumer confidence, and maintain responsible supply chains,” added Bonaparte.
The delegation met with many stakeholders in Myanmar from the gemstone industry, government, and civil society. The trip also included visits to observe mining conditions and practices in the Mogok area.
This is the first meeting between U.S. and Myanmar gemstone and jewelry representatives since President Barack Obama announced last month that the U.S. will lift the remaining economic sanctions on the country.