Panama opens diamond trading centre

Panama president Ricardo Martinelli will be the guest of honour at this month's launch of Latin America's first diamond trading centre.

Panama president Ricardo Martinelli will be the guest of honour at this month’s launch of Latin America’s first diamond trading centre.

The Panama Gem & Jewelry Center, which houses the newly established Panama Diamond Exchange, will be the first dedicated facility for the diamond, jewellery and coloured stones in Latin America, a region that includes South and Central America as well as the Caribbean.

Eli Izhakoff, the president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, said the opening of the centre on March 17 would be “a real milestone event for the global diamond, jewellery and coloured stone industries” which was as important as the establishment of such trading centres in Shanghai and Dubai.

“Just as they {the trading centres in Shanghai and Dubia) were catalysts for the dramatic growth of massive new markets, I am confident that the same will be the case for Panama and Latin America,” he said.
PDE president Erez Akermana added that visitors to Panama would “most definitely have their eyes opened” by the new centre.

“This is a country that is experiencing a substantial economic boom, largely as result of it serving as a hub and world access point for Latin America, which likewise has grown into a major world market force,” he said.

“The facts that the Panama Gem & Jewelry Center has the support of the Panamanian government and parliament, which views it as a strategic asset, makes the whole project even more exciting.”
Construction has already begun on the first stage of the US$200 million plus project, which includes a structure that will house the trading floor and offices of the diamond bourse, as well as extensive office space for companies.

The second phase of the project will include the development of a high-rise tower, where the lower floors will include the offices and trading floor of the PDE and a jewellery mall while the upper floors will include offices of diamond, jewellery, coloured gemstones, pearl and precious metals companies.

Latin America’s diamond, jewellery and coloured stone sector is currently estimated to be worth US$8 billion in sales per annum, and its industry includes more than 11,500 jewellery outlets, more than 320 mining companies and almost 750 wholesalers of diamond, jewellery and coloured stones.

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