More than 300 participants attended the 7th edition of the annual Dubai Precious Metals Conference (DPMC), organised by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) on Monday, listening to speakers and panellists discuss issues and opportunities critical to the future of the worldwide precious metals trade.
Following the opening speech by DMCC CEO Gautam Sashittal, the conference keynote speaker Lord Dr Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE, Global Head of Citizenship at KPMG, observed, "If you want to build a sustainable future, then having values and operating ethically and transparently is critical. You can sign declarations on sustainability but actually creating sustainable development is another step.”
He added, “It is about building a decent and dignified future for the people you serve. The challenge is not about what the metals are worth, but what we give back to the communities, and the freedom and dignity we provide for them.”
Chandu Siroya, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, commenting on the 5 percent Value Added Tax imposed by the UAE on gold jewellery, said, "A lot of companies didn't sell for the first 20 days after the VAT came in. The unique structure of Dubai where 85 percent of gold jewellery is for export, means it is creating uncertainty.”
He added, “We also saw that around 20 offices became available for rent in the gold souk. Unfortunately, the market is down significantly, both at the wholesale and retail levels.” Siroya was speaking during a panel discussion on ‘The Evolution and Impact of Taxation on Gold’.
The next panel debate focussed on ‘Responsible Sourcing – Expectations and Reality’, with panel moderator Ajay Mathur, Director, Precious Metals, DMCC. Speaking remotely to the audience via video link, Tyler Gillard, Manager of Sector Projects, Responsible Business Conduct Unit, Investment Division at OECD, said, “Investors as well as banks are increasingly expecting to see evidence of responsible sourcing before doing any business with clients. Consumers are demanding it. So essentially, now responsible sourcing is no longer an option, it is a commercial requirement.”
The final panel debate of the day was on the subject of ‘Challenges in The Jewellery Sector’, and moderated by Chandu Siroya. He concluded, “There are many challenges facing the jewellery industry. These include the responsible and ethical sourcing of gold. There is the problem of lower availability of skilled craftsmen because younger people are looking to work in other industries so it's difficult to attract them. Attracting finance and the costs of doing business, including marketing costs which are relatively higher for small and medium-sized firms, is also one of the challenges.”
Siroya added, “There is the issue of the threat to physical stores of online sales, the problem of counterfeit jewellery and finally the finding a way for the use of lab-grown diamonds in jewellery that can be embraced by all - from manufacturers to consumers."
DMCC Executive Chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem, bringing the conference to a close, said, "Dubai is the world’s leading physical gold market and one of the world’s top three hubs for the diamond trade. This position is not achieved in isolation, it is by working alongside the industry, listening to business and engaging with stakeholders across the globe.”