Mar 22, 2018 / 09:45

Wood industry eyes international markets

Domestic wood producers can expand export markets this year as the global demands are projected to rise amid limited supply sources, experts said.

According to Huynh Van Hanh, Vice Chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA) said, the world’s demand for interior furniture is predicted to increase by 3.5 percent in 2018, while trade for timber products will rise by 4 percent.
Global demand for interior furniture is predicted to increase by 3.5 percent in 2018
Global demand for interior furniture is predicted to increase by 3.5 percent in 2018
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that China, the world’s largest supplier of wooden products, has imposed export taxes on wooden products. It faces a lawsuit in the United States for dumping furniture, reducing the competiveness of its products.

Other main furniture producers like Germany and Italy have cut production due to higher costs, while Malaysia and some other ASEAN members have development strategies but lack the workforce required.

Global demand for furniture remains high, and though Vietnam is strong in that area its exports are insignificant, which means there is considerable scope for Vietnamese firms to increase their market share.

It would have opportunities to expand its market share in the global market since there is an increase in demand, Cuong said.

Nguyen Lien, general director of Lam Viet Joint Stock Company, also said the market for wooden products is good now with many international buyers shifting from China to Vietnam.

His company had earned $21 million from furniture exports last year, and it is expected to increase by 20-25 percent to $25-27 million this year.

“Businesses have prepared well to capitalize on market opportunities,” he added.

However, Cuong noted that consumers have increasingly higher demands and furniture producers need to improve quality, designs and features to add value to their products.

Besides, firms need to invest more in technology and business management to raise productivity and sustain quality.

They should “diversify timber sources” to avoid the risk of high prices while saying no to illegal sources. 

The United States has cut corporate income tax to support local furniture producers, and Vietnamese firms should avoid export of products that United States firms are producing, he said.

Vietnam’s exports of wood and wooden products increased by 12.3 percent a year for the past seven years, and are forecast to rise even faster in the next three years.

The country’s exports of forestry product are expected to top $9 billion this year, with wood and wooden products accounting for $8.5-8.7 billion, according to HAWA.

Nguyen Quoc Khanh, HAWA chairman, said exports of wooden and other forestry products rose by 10.2 percent last year to a record $8 billion, a figure previously targeted only in 2020. 

The export turnover of the products in the first month of this year rose 18.5 percent year-on-year to nearly $710 million. The United States, China and Japan were Vietnam’s largest export markets.

The rise helped Vietnam become the world’s fifth largest exporter of wood and wooden products with a market share of 6 percent. The country is also the largest exporter of those products among ASEAN member nations and the second largest in Asia.

The export value of the products is expected to reach $8.5 billion this year and $10 billion by 2020.