DIRECTOR-GENERAL of Trade Tony Miller has applauded the Hongkong jewellery industry for its growth and resistance to protectionism. Speaking at yesterday's opening of the Jewellery and Watch Show, he said: ''It has not always been an easy battle, but Hongkong has made a name for itself in the ranks of the world's top manufacturers and exporters of jewellery and watches. ''Against prejudice and protectionism, design skills, quality and the support of excellent craftsmen have prevailed.'' The four-day event, at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, is one of the largest jewellery trade shows in the region and a showcase for the territory's watchmakers. Hongkong, whose jewellery exports last year totalled $5.3 billion, is the world's second largest manufacturer of watches, after Switzerland, and the third largest exporter of precious jewellery, after Italy and Switzerland. Mr Miller said: ''Every visitor to Hongkong is impressed by the enormous number of jewellery shops here, and the variety and quality of their stock.'' He noted the impact changes in fashions had had on the industry. ''It used to be, not much more than a generation ago, that people would stick to only a few pieces of family jewellery; or that people possessed only one watch at any one time,'' he said. ''The growth of wealth through trade has changed both aspirations and fashions drastically.'' There are more than 250 exhibitors from Hongkong and fifteen other countries at the show, which is expected to attract as many as 7,000 buyers from around the world. Exhibitors come from as far afield as Israel, Poland and Denmark.