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Grand Opening and Latin American Diamond & Jewelry Week

Grand Opening and Latin American Diamond & Jewelry Week

12.05.2015: Photo caption: An artist's rendition of the Phase II building of the World Jewelry Hub




Photo caption:  An artist's rendition of the Phase II building of the World Jewelry Hub. Rising above Panama City, it will be a one-stop-shop for the Gem and jewelry trade in Latin America and the world.




The World Jewelry Hub represents a great deal more than just another business or property development. It is a $200 million mega-project that will elevate Latin America to the status of the world's next great jewelry market, and  will provide members of the international jewelry and gemstone trade with the only dedicated trading facility that enjoys the full benefits of a Free Zone, in all of the Americas.


A milestone was registered at the World Jewelry Hub during the last week in April, with the official start of regular commercial activity on the trading floor and in the offices of the Panama Diamond Exchange. It was a proud moment for PDE President, Erez Akerman, and the dedicated team of the World Jewelery Hub and diamond exchange. 
 

For the first time its history, Latin America has an operating diamond bourse, with direct access to the full inventory of the members of the 32 diamond exchanges affiliated to the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, who collectively handle about 90 percent of diamonds that are traded globally.
 

The formal inauguration ceremony took place on April 28, in the presence of Panama's head of state, President Juan Carlos Varela; Alvaro Aleman, Minister of the Presidency; Melitón Arrocha, Minister of Commerce; and Néstor González, Vice Minister of Commerce. Panama's government has always provided solid support for the venture, and this was well demonstrated at the event. 
 

Just prior to the Grand Opening, the Panamanian parliament unanimously passed  stringent  new anti-money laundering legislation, which we strongly support. This, from our industry's  perspective, was added to the country's membership in the Kimberley Process, which it has held since 2012. The government and parliament earlier passed legislation that recognizes the area of the World Jewelry Hub as a Free Zone for the trade  in jewelry and gemstones, meaning that all transactions conducted within it are exempt from duties and taxes, and companies registered in its confines do not pay tax on profits earned from re-exportation.
 

The Grand Opening also had also great significance for the international and regional gemstone and jewelry trades, and we were privileged to host in Panama industry leaders from Latin America and across the globe. They included Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO, the World Jewelry Confederation; Avi Paz, Hon. President of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses; Pankaj Parekh, Vice Chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India; Reuven Kaufman, President of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York; Marcel Pruwer, President of the Antwerp Diamond Bourse; Shlomo Eshed, President of Israel Precious Stones and Diamonds Exchange, Alex Popov, President of the Moscow Diamond Bourse and World Diamond Mark; David Rosenberg, President of the Diamond Bourse of the Southeast United States in Miami; Miguel Cotero, President of the Cámara de Joyería Jalisco in Mexico; and Cesar Daza, President of JOYACRUZ in Bolivia. 
 

The World Jewelry Hub is also attracting the attention of the wider business community. The week before the Grand Opening, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with HS Kim, President for the Visual Display Division of Samsung corporation in South Korea, according to which Samsung and WJH  will  create a strategic alliance in order to develop and implement projects that provide mutual commercial benefits and encourage loyalty to both brands. We also agreed to develop projects that will serve the interests of local communities and expand the CSR programs of both organizations. 



  President Juan Carlos Varela (third from left) ringing the bell to signal the official start of trading at the Panama Diamond Exchange. He is flanked (from left) by Alberto Vallarino, President of Grupo VerdeAzul, the developer of the World Jewelry Hub; Melitón Arrocha, Minister of Commerce; Eli Izhakoff, Chairman of the World Jewelry Hub; and Erez Akerman, President of the Panama Diamond Exchange.


The World Jewelry Hub Grand Opening was held concurrently with the first Latin American Diamond & Jewelry Week, which brought together retail and wholesale buyers from the region with suppliers from around the world. 
 

All the suppliers were members of the Panama Diamond Exchange, the region's only WFDB-affiliated diamond bourse and the anchor organization of the Hub. Among the firms displaying merchandise were representatives of 14 of the world's largest diamond companies.
 

Both the Grand Opening and the Latin American Diamond & Jewelry Week took place in the Phase I building of the World Jewelry Hub, which is the first structure to be built on the WJH campus. Completed at the end of 2014, it today serves as the headquarters of the Panama Diamond Exchange and is the home to first companies to establish offices in the new trading center.
 

The overwhelming demand for places at the events in April was even stronger than expected, and ultimately required us to close registration several days ahead of time. For those who discovered that they were unable to register, we are planning similar Diamond & Jewelry Weeks in the future, and, in any case, PDE members will be happy to welcome buyers on a daily basis.
 

Nonetheless, 400 industry professionals were able to sign up for the event, with most flying into Panama City from 17 countries in Latin America and many of the world's leading diamond trade centers.
 

During the days leading up to the event, hundreds of million of U.S. dollars worth of loose diamonds, colored gemstones and fine jewelry were shipped in to the World Jewelry Hub, carried into our secure facility by Brinks and Malca-Amit, the industry's two largest shipping and logistics operators, both of which has established permanent offices in the complex


Commercial activity is officially underway in the Phase I building of the World Jewelry Hub, on the trading floor  of the Panama Diamond Exchange (left) and in the company offices (right).


The penultimate evening of the Grand Opening Event and Latin American Diamond and Jewelry Week featured a Gala Dinner, attended by some 500 invitees, including the participants in the two events, representatives of Panama's political leadership, members of the the diplomatic corps in Panama and leading figures from the business community.
 

It was a time to celebrate, what has already been achieved and what still is to come.
 

Among the individuals who were recognized during the evening and bestowed with Honorary Membership in the Panama Diamond Exchange were Ms. Shamma Jain, the Ambassador of India to Panama, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of the World Jewelry Hub; Mr. Pankaj Parekh, Vice Chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India; and Ms. Shira Ami, Editor in Chief of Yahalom magazine in Israel, who for more than three decades has covered our industry with great distinction.



TOP: Ms. Shamma Jain, the Ambassador of India to Panama (second from right), receiving Honorary PDE Membership, flanked (from left) by Avi Paz, Hon. WFDB President; Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President; Eli Izhakoff, WJH Chairman; and Erez Akerman, PDE President.

BOTTOM LEFT: Pankaj Parekh (center), Vice Chairman of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India, receiving Honorary PDE Membership from Mr. Izhakoff and Mr. Akerman.
BOTTOM RIGHT: Shira Ami (second from right) is honored by Mr. Paz, Mr. Izhakoff and Mr. Akerman.




Looking ahead to Phase II of the World Jewelry Hub

 


 Photo caption  An artist's rendition of the Shopping Center of the Panama Diamond Exchange in the Phase II building of the World Jewelry Hub
.


As they say, the best is still to come. A highlight of President Varela's visit to the World Jewelry Hub on April 28 was the moment that he turned on the lights in a giant model of the Phase II building, for which construction will begin in earnest in a very short while. It is scheduled for completion at the end of 2017.
 

What is planned is an iconic tower that will change the skyline of Panama City, and serve as a one-stop-shop for the diamond, gemstone and jewelry trades in Latin America and the world.
 

Providing a total working area of 146,000 square meters, the new building will provide a variety of options for Type A office space, a luxury commercial center, more than 2,000 covered parking spaces, restaurants, meeting and event spaces, and two dedicated floors for the Panama Diamond Exchange.


 It will be constructed according to the highest degree of environmental sustainability, and include state of the art electronic and physical security, including a biometric access control system.
 

Offices in the WJH Phase II building will be available for purchase, and a by-invitation-only "early-bird" sales campaign will begin in two weeks time. The general sales campaign will launch in July.
 

For those who would like to inquire about acquiring offices in the World Jewelry Hub, you may contact Mr. Erez Akerman, PDE President, email: erez.akerman@pde.com.pa, tel: +507 6608 3222, or Ali Pastorini, WJH Director of Marketing, email: ali.pastorini@wjhub.com, tel: +507 6924 7734. They both will be in Las Vegas from May 27 to June 1 during the JCK Show, and in Tel Aviv for the WFDB President's Meeting from June 10 to 16.
 

It has been a momentous year, with tremendous progress made. But our journey is still in its early stages, and we hope you may join us.


Eli Izhakoff, Chairman, World Jewelry Hub
 

 
Located in the Santa Maria Business District of Panama City, the World Jewelry Hub (WJH) is a dedicated center that serves the specialized needs of the diamond, colored gemstone and jewelry sectors, and is designed to serve their primary trading center in Latin America and the access point to the region for industry professionals from around the world.


Home to the Panama Diamond Exchange (PDE), the region's only recognized diamond bourse, WJH has been recognized as a Gemstone and Jewelry Free Zone by the Government of Panama, where transactions conducted within it are exempt from duties and other taxes. The first phase of the WJH complex was completed at the end of 2014.


The second phase, which includes the construction of multi-story office tower, will be completed by the end of 2017. For more information see www.pde.com.pa. 


 
-Steven Benson -photos PDE

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/latin-american-diamond-jewelry-week-hub-panama---136208.html

12.05.2015 / MaP

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