Vietnam says ‘no’ to illegal timber

09:08 | 05/07/2017 Trade

(VEN) - On May 26, the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association (VIFORES), the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA), the Forest Products Association of Binh Dinh (FPA Binh Dinh), and the Binh Duong Furniture Association (BIFA) signed an agreement and joint statement on use, production and trade in legal timber and wood products.

Vietnamese timber associations sign commitments to legal wood use, production and trade

Risk elimination

A Forest Trends analyst, To Xuan Phuc, said the wood industry, especially its exports, still takes many risks when integrating into foreign markets. Importing timber from different sources causes major potential risks, he explained at the signing event.

“Vietnam annually imports 4-4.5 million cubic meters of wood of 150-160 types worth US$1.8-2 billion from more than 100 countries and territories worldwide,” To Xuan Phuc said.

Nguyen Ton Quyen, secretary general of VIFORES, said Vietnam must stop timber imports from risky sources to improve the wood industry’s prestige and maintain its export markets.

Joint commitments

The commitment signed by the timber growers and manufacturers includes the following points:
- assisting authorities to develop, improve and effectively implement the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA)/ Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) between Vietnam and the EU in order to increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese wood enterprises in foreign markets;

- assisting authorities to develop policies and strictly control natural forest timber, encourage sustainable cultivation of forests including large diameter logs;

- abiding by all of regulations on development, exploitation and use of and trade in timber and wood products, and promoting use, production and trade in domestically planted and legally imported timbers;

- shunning illegal exploitation, transportation, processing, production and trade of timber and timber products throughout Vietnam and other countries;

- working together to build and develop a comprehensive, open and transparent information and data system of the wood processing industry, increasing accountability of the business community and fully complying with regulations in foreign markets.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam exported timber and wood products worth an estimated US$2.9 billion in the first five months of 2017, up 9.9 percent from the same time in 2016. The US, China and Japan - the three biggest importers of Vietnamese timber and wood products in the first four months of this year - accounted for 69.1 percent of the total.

Nguyen Hanh