(MENAFN - Arab News) The reduction of customs duty on gold and jewelries would boost mutual trade and further expand commercial relations between member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a committee of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) said recently.
The committee also decided to offer financial support for studies on this topic, especially in the backdrop of the continuously spiraling price of the precious metal. Governments in the region, excepting the Kingdom, have imposed custom's duty ranging around one percent on importers and exporters.
The meeting approved the committee's programs for next year and affirmed the importance of monitoring customs duties and ensuring instant clearance at border checkpoints. The committee also decided to ensure that customs offices release goods immediately at checkpoints after taking only a sample to send for testing to the ministry.
The committee decided to meet government officials in various ministries to discuss matters related to encourage investors in the gold and jewelry sector. They also discussed topics such as Saudization in the sector and combating commercial fraud, and the detection of illegal workshops. Steps should be taken to find suitable locations for gold and jewelry factories in industrial cities.
It was reported in recent months that increasing prices sent many gold and jewelry shops out of business. According to a report in May, more than 500 shops were closed in the early months of the year due to the losses attributed to a sharp rise in the international prices of the precious metal. It said gold sales have dropped by 40 to 50 percent in the Kingdom.
According to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, most of these shops were in the Eastern Province.
About 150 workshops run by foreigners were closed because of their failure to abide by the licensing and trade regulations.
In the global market, gold started the year at around 1,565 (SR 5,870) an ounce, climbed to 1,785 (SR 6,695) by February, fell to around 1,530 (SR 5,738) by the middle of the year, before climbing again to around 1,790 (SR 6,713) by October and then easing to levels around 1,700 (SR 6,376).