Jade trade closes amid coronavirus flare-up in Ruili
Published: Apr 02, 2021 12:22 AM

Ruili port in Southwest China's Yunnan Province links the country with Myanmar. Photo: IC

Ruili port in Southwest China's Yunnan Province links the country with Myanmar. Photo: IC

Ruili in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, the main bridge linking the country with Myanmar, has closed the jade trade fair in the city and suspended the imports of jade from Myanmar following the latest flare-up of novel coronavirus cases, according to an official notice and multiple jade traders.

After six local COVID-19 infections were reported on Tuesday and Wednesday in a sudden outbreak, the border city Ruili has ordered a one-week home quarantine for residents and suspended the offline transactions of jade in the city - a key hub for jade trade in China, with the majority of raw jadestones coming from Myanmar. 

"This round of coronavirus cluster closed all jade retail stores and jade trade fair in Ruili, which pressed pause on the industry," Wei Lin, manager of an emerald company called Yumanquanqiu in Ruili, told the Global Times on Thursday, adding that the Jiegao port in Ruili was closed with goods being suspended from shipping between China and Myanmar. 

The gemstone and jade jewelry businesses in Ruili attract investors and entrepreneurs in and beyond China, Wei said. Some people from Myanmar, Pakistan and Nepal have also been coming to trade jewelry in the city over the years. 

Around 70,000 practitioners work in the jewelry industry in Ruili, accounting for 33.25 percent of the city's total population, according to the Xinhua News Agency. 

The bureau of industry and business technology in Ruili announced Thursday a suspension  of both online and offline business activities of jade trade. 

"Starting from Thursday, any jewelry trade fair, live-streaming base and business entity of jade live-streaming in the city must suspend all online and offline business activities. Resumption will be announced until further notice," read the official announcement, adding that any entity which refuses to implement the policy will be punished with maximum penalty. 

A staffer of a jade store in Yunnan's Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture who preferred to remain anonymous told the Global Times on Thursday that the new coronavirus cases in tandem with the political upheaval in Myanmar affected the imports of jade from Myanmar. This has pushed the price of premium jade up by 20-30 percent and left the domestic jade supply to fall short of demand. 

Wei added that the political upheaval in Myanmar has slowed down customs clearance and delayed the delivery of jade from a mere month to 3-6 months. 

Looking ahead, another jade trader in Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture said the impact of the coronavirus and the unstable political situation in Myanmar will increase the jade price, but the influence will be offset in the short run. 

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