08:24 | 06/04/2018 Trade
(VEN) - Wood exporters have attracted a large number of orders by taking the initiative in obtaining raw material for production, making their 2018 US$9-billion export target feasible, according to the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFORES).
Up to their ears with orders
Huynh Van Hanh, Deputy Chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA), said most leading exporters have export orders until the middle of the year, and some even until the end of 2018. Vietnam’s 2018 US$9 billion wood export target is feasible, Hanh said.
The HAWA representative said that over the past 10 years, Vietnam experienced a wood export growth of 12.3 percent per year. While the value of the euro compared to the US dollar has increased, Vietnamese exporters have benefited from euro-based trade exchange as they mainly exported to the EU. Each year, Vietnam used 24-25 million cubic meters of timber for wood product production, only six million of which were imported to diversify the product range.
Hoang Kieu Phong, Deputy General Director of the Tien Trien Vietnam Furniture Co., Ltd (Binh Duong Province), said the market is more promising for Vietnamese enterprises this year, as many European and American importers have shifted their orders to Vietnam instead of China.
In January 2018, Vietnamese businesses exported wood and wood products worth US$773.97 million, up 27 percent from the same time in 2017, of which wood products accounted for 72.3 percent or US$559.84 million.
Labor force and technology
However, wood enterprises are facing skilled workforce and technology challenges.
Scansia Pacific General Director Nguyen Chien Thang said while orders and markets are favorable for the company – with a 25 percent growth in exports compared to the same time last year, mostly from European and American markets – the company is facing skilled workforce and technology challenges to produce high quality, attractively designed products. Thang said the fast economic development has caused many other industries to attract more skilled workers, and wood enterprises need to modernize technology and attract skilled laborers if they are to survive competition and succeed.
Nguyen Thi Thuy Hong, General Director of the Happy Furniture Co., Ltd., said salaries, premium and material prices have increased, while export prices remain unchanged, challenging small to medium-sized enterprises.
Minh Long & Thuy Duong