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MoCI moves to waive stamping condition for gold and jewelries

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 12: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is preparing to issue a decision to exempt gold and jewelry trademarks registered in countries of origin from the condition of stamping upon entry to Kuwait, while keeping them in place to ensure they comply with the specifications of their registered standards, reports Al-Rai daily quoting sources.

Sources said the ministry currently excludes three companies from the process of stamping gold and jewelry based on a previous ministerial decision. However, after studying the matter legally and commercially, as well as from the logistics angle, the ministry decided to circulate the exclusion decision to all companies that can prove the product is marked ‘registered’ as a distributor or agent.

Sources pointed out this decision will save the effort and time of traders who sometimes have less appetite for expansion of their offers locally due to frustration created by waiting lists for stamping goods, which sometimes reach a month. They noted that spending extra time is not worthy of stamping gold and jewelry economically for traders to increase the period of distributing their goods.

It freezes part of their liquidity which represents an undue financial and time pressure. Sources added that in case the decision to adopt the trademarks is approved, examination of gold will take only about an hour. They said this decision helps facilitate procedures for importers of gold and paves way for attracting new precious metals traders from additional markets, which contribute to efforts to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial center in the region. This trend is in line with the plans of the ministry to improve performance of the precious metals unit and improve the services provided to traders and businessmen.

These changes are considered the first step towards realizing the vision of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for Kuwait to become the center for trading precious metals in the region. Sources said the ease and speed of procedures expected from the adoption of trademarks are merits for the gold trade in Kuwait and help in making more moves to revitalize this market.

Sources disclosed that gold merchants from India and Turkey expressed their desire to open lines of sale in Kuwait, supported by famous brands, but the current period of stamping weakens their desire to be in the Kuwaiti market. It is likely that the new decision will help attract these traders and others to the local market.

Sources added that if this happens, the ministry will receive applications from traders wishing to invest in the local market. They explained that in this case there will be coordination with the relevant authorities, including the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Authority, to establish procedures for protection from penetration attempts.

Sources explained the adoption of trademarks means abolition of the previous decision, which is limited to three companies. It means that all trademarks registered in the countries of origin will be adopted and exempted from the stamping requirement.

They revealed that what fueled the optimism over the decision is the volume of sales of gold in the domestic market despite current process of stamping. They indicated that the figures for 2018 show a surge in purchases, because the quantity rose by about 28.3 percent – from 9.35 tons to 42.4 tons of steel and alloy, compared with 33.06 tons purchased in 2017.

The total reached about 26.9 tons with a value of KD335.5 million and total volume of sold alloys amounted to 15.49 tons, worth KD193 million. Although the decision to adopt the trademarks will result in loss of State revenues of about KD1.3 million from marking gold – 18, 21 and 22 carats and about KD774,500 from 24 carat alloys, according to the figures of the ministry, but it relies heavily on recording of revenue by further regulating this market and improve its competitiveness, which ultimately serves the consumers’ interest.

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