By Handan Gunes
ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey is set to host an international conference on jewelry and gemstone next week in Istanbul.
According to Turkey’s Jewellery Exporters' Association on Friday, Istanbul will host the 8th conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Gems and Jewellery for the first time.
The conference will gather 35 countries from Asia, including Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
"All the countries considered as the leading manufacturers of jewelry are located in the east of the world," Mustafa Kamar, chairman of Jewellery Exporters' Association, said in a statement.
A jewelry market with a worth of $500 billion will gather at the conference, said Kamar, stressing that the ASEAN conference is a great opportunity for Turkey to increase its market share in the world's jewelry sector.
Turkey's export to ASEAN countries is about $45 million, he said, though the country has a long way to increase its share in the jewelry import of these countries.
Kamar said Turkey exported $4.4 billion in jewelry last year, adding that Turkey ranked among top five largest jewelry markets with its production volume, labor quality and strong design capability.
"If the barriers facing Turkish jewelry producers could be removed, Turkey would set record every year," he added.
The members of ASEAN are starting to be seen as an important competitor on the jewelry sector.
Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are seen as main important industries being rich in gems and jewelry resources, having developed jewelry manufacturing industry and closely trading with Chinese jewelry.
* Writing by Aysu Bicer