By Ashley Davis
Hong Kong—The Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair has announced it will go on next month as planned, despite exhibitors’ requests to postpone the event in the wake of rampant pro-democracy protests and riots that have paralyzed the region in recent months.

Last week, India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) asked in a letter that jewelry trade show owner Informa Markets postpone the Hong Kong fair to a later date when Hong Kong is more stable.

In the letter, the organizations stated that 30 to 40 percent of their represented exhibitors are “demanding” to withdraw from the show in response to many of their clients and buyers deciding not to attend.

The organizations also expressed insurance concerns, saying polices policies wouldn’t cover goods lost or damaged due to potential rioting.

Informa responded a day later with a letter of its own, stating its intent to proceed with the September show, which is scheduled to begin on the 16th.

It noted that recent protests had been peaceful. “There are positive signs indicating that the situation is cooling down, as of today,” it said.

Following the publication of the letter, however, there were again violent clashes between protesters and police over the weekend.

Informa said that Hong Kong’s Airport Authority had received a special injunction prohibiting protesters from entering the airport and the fair is putting in place “contingency plans … for virtually every scenario during the different phases of our show.”

It also will employ “special transportation arrangements” for visitors from China, visitors traveling between select hotels and the fair, and visitors traveling between different destinations in Hong Kong during the fair.

Informa also assured exhibitors that existing insurance policies would cover any jewelry losses or damages that could occur due to rioting.

The trade show organizer said it has received plenty of visitor registrations and interest in the show from exhibitors and visitors alike, and hasn’t received demands for cancellation.  

A representative for the AWDC confirmed to National Jeweler that the Antwerp pavilion will be present at the September show but noted of Informa’s letter: “We don’t believe their response was an actual answer to the concerns our traders had raised, but we are in close contact with them and will await any change.”

Likewise, IDI said it is “continuing preparations” for the fair.

“The September show is a very important one for the Israeli diamond industry,” the organization told National Jeweler. “There will be 75 Israeli exhibitors in total at the show, in the national pavilion and in other locations throughout the show.”

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