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AGTA and JA Lead Gemstone Delegation in Myanmar

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(Press Release)
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar – A delegation representing the U.S. gemstone and jewelry industry traveled to Myanmar (Burma) to discuss bilateral trade between the two countries.

Led by American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) President Jeffrey Bilgore, AGTA CEO Douglas Hucker, Jewelers of America (JA) President and CEO David J. Bonaparte and Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) Dr. Jim Shigley, the trip’s main purpose was re-establishing direct lines of commerce between Myanmar and the U.S. Also joining the delegation was Timothy Haake of Haake/Fetzer, senior counsel to JA, and the Inle Advisory Group, a Myanmar-centric business consulting firm.

“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,” Bilgore said.

“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 a wide range of stakeholders in Myanmar from the gemstone industry, government and civil society. The trip was also to include visits to observe mining conditions and practices in Mogok.

This was 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.

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