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Gold imports totally stopped

Jaipur, Aug 19 (): Gold imports has been totally stopped for the last three weeks, said the trade at the India International Gold Convention held here.

Not even a gram of gold has come into India. If this situation continues, then at least 300 tonnes of gold will be smuggled in, says the bullion merchants. The imports have stopped as the RBI circular to customs is not clear and open to interpretations by customs officers. Till RBI gives a clarity on the import policy, the trade will not import any gold.

The RBI said in its circular, that out of the imported consignment, 20% should exclusively be exported as jewellery. The importer quantity would be based on the highest volume bought in three years and that too should be imported in one go. This rule applies to dore (semi-purified gold) which is cheaper. This gold is refined and then used to make ornaments. If the importers import the metal for more than two months quantity, then RBI terms it as speculation.

According to Trade Federation of Gems and Jewellery, the problem starts and could get more serious once an imported gold consignment arrives. The gold has to be kept in the warehouse of the customs, with noone to monitor it. Old gold is being recycled till RBI comes with the answers that the customs and trade are asking.

The trade after RBI intervention is talking to Finance Ministry while all along it was under the Commerce ministry. Some felt that the yellow metal coming into India was money on hand and some felt that combining export and import was a wrong policy.

The London Bullion Market Association Chairman said Indian bullion dealers are plagued with multiple adjustments. Out of the 137 traders who took part in a poll conducted at the convention, 60% said that gold worth 300 tonnes would flow in through the smugglers. The trader said that the Government would lose the import duty since it will be difficult to stop the smugglers.