Wood exports to reach US$7.3 billion

10:20 | 09/12/2016 Trade

(VEN) - The Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (Vifores) predicted that timber and wood product exports this year would possibly reach US$7.3 billion, the highest result so far.

The wood sector has grown by an average 15-20 percent annually in recent years

Data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development show that Vietnam exported US$496 million worth of timber and wood products this September. In the first nine months, the export value of these products reached US$4.9 billion, equal to that in the same period last year. These were acceptable results when many key products’ export value was falling.

The US, Japan, and China remained the top three importers of Vietnamese timber and wood products. Exports to other markets recorded uptrend, for example the Republic of Korea (18 percent), the UK (12.4 percent), and Australia (nine percent).

According to Vifores Vice President and Secretary General Nguyen Ton Quyen, the wood sector has achieved a stable annual growth rate of 15-20 percent in recent years. Its export value reached US$6.9 billion in 2015. It is forecasted to increase to US$7.3 billion this year and nearly US$8 billion in 2017.

Experts said the US is the most important export market for Vietnamese wood. Annual exports to this market have reached over US$2 billion, accounting for more than 30 percent of the total export value of these products. After the US imposed a high anti-dumping tax rate on wood imports from China - the world’s largest wood market, Vietnam has been chosen to replace China to export timber and wood products to this market. Vietnamese wood exports to the US have grown 10-15 percent annually.

Japan is also a potential export market for Vietnamese wood. Exports to this market grew 13 percent annually from 2013-2015. A wide range of Vietnamese wood products have won the trust of Japanese consumers. Examples include woodchips, bedroom furniture, outdoor furniture, wood chairs, and office furniture. Vietnamese timber and wood products are highly appreciated for reasonable prices, good quality, and diversity.

Origin of wood is great concern

A number of free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the FTA between Vietnam and the EU, and the FTA between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) are expected to better support Vietnamese wood exports.

The US, Japan, and Australia, which are major importers of Vietnamese wood, are all members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This agreement, therefore, is also expected to help Vietnam increase wood exports when it comes into effect. The Russian market has very high demand for timber and wood products. The validity of the FTA between Vietnam and the EEU therefore will support the export value of Vietnamese wood.

To enjoy tariff preferences from FTAs, wood businesses are required to use materials of transparent origin. To Xuan Phuc, a representative of Forest Trends, said the Vietnamese government and Vifores should encourage wood businesses to enhance the transparency of export products through declaring the origin and legality of materials they use. Businesses should be provided with information about market demands to avoid anti-dumping duties.

Phuong Lan