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Burma Hopes to Raise $63 Million from Gem Fair


Burma says it hopes to raise 63 million dollars from the sale of precious stones and jewelry at a trade fair that began todat in Rangoon.

Burma's deputy mining minister U Myint Thein says the emporium is expected to attract more than 1,000 buyers from 11 countries, an increase from previous years. He says many of the buyers will come from neighboring China and Thailand.

The highlight of the fair will be the auction of a 33 carat gem with a starting price of four million dollars.

The gem auctions are usually held every six months. They provide a crucial source of foreign currency for Burma.

The U.S. has imposed tough economic sanctions on the country's military leadership, citing human rights abuses and the lack of democratic reforms.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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