Myanmar gem fair nets record

Myanmar gem fair nets record in sales.

The fair in the capital, Naypyitaw, attracted some 6,700 traders, 4,000 of them from overseas, with 9,157 lots of jade, 273 lots of gems and 237 lots of pearls sold in auctions, said the official, who requested anonymity.

Bagan (Pagan), Myanmar (Burma), Asia

Bagan (Pagan), Myanmar (Burma), Asia

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"These are the highest proceeds from a single sale of jade, gems and pearls since 1964," he told Reuters.

Gemstones are a lucrative source of income for Myanmar's military government, despite Western sanctions imposed on the resource-rich country, some of which outlaw the procurement and sale of Burmese stones.

Myanmar produces more than 90 percent of the world's rubies and fine-quality jade. Most of Myanmar's jade and gemstone mines are run by the defence and mines ministries and businessmen with close connections to the regime.

The United States Congress passed a bill in October 2007 to expand sanctions prohibiting the domestic sale of rubies, jade and other gems routed through Myanmar's neighbours. Experts say this has had only a limited impact on the junta because most buyers are from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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