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MUMBAI, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The value of gems and jewellery exported from India in the year to March 2013 is likely to be flat at its previous level of $42.84 billion as slower world economic growth outweighs a revival in U.S. demand, a trade body head said on Friday.
Shipments of gems and jewellery constituted 17 percent of India's total exports last year, and employ 1.5 million workers.
"We expect flat growth through the end of the year ... Christmas in the U.S. is looking positive," Vipul Shah, the newly elected chairman of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said.
India ships most of its gems and jewellery to the United States, but Indian exporters have been trying to diversify into other markets.
"The council will focus on penetrating new emerging markets through buyer-seller matching programmes or trade delegations," Shah said, referring to Russia and Australia.
Shipments from April to September fell 11.7 percent year on year to $19.90 billion, said GJEPC, which represents about 5,500 members. (Reporting by Siddesh Mayenkar; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)