06:00 | 27/06/2020 Industry
Vietnam’s wood industry is preparing to reap the benefits of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which is expected to provide major opportunities once it comes into effect this summer.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in the first four months of the year, Vietnam’s wood exports reached US$3.29 billion, an increase of 5.1 percent compared to a year ago, with exports to the European market accounting for nearly 10 percent of total export turnover. Ngo Sy Hoai, deputy chair and secretary-general of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association, said this figure is quite satisfactory given the ongoing spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to forecasts, the US$12-billion target for Vietnam’s wood exports in 2020 would be hard to reach. Vietnam mainly exports dressing tables and kitchens and bathroom furniture to the US and EU.
The National Assembly’s recent ratification of the EVFTA could help ease the pandemic’s economic effects. Nguyen Chanh Phuong, deputy chair of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA), said the EU acts as an important timber supplier for Vietnam. Key wood items Vietnam imports from the EU are round wood, sawn wood, veneers, and plywood at an estimated volume of around one million cu.m per year. As soon as the trade deal comes into effect, Vietnamese wood businesses can promote wood imports from the EU in order to serve for export processing and domestic consumption.
Under the EVFTA, local businesses can also take advantage of the production technology, management expertise, as well as cutting-edge machinery and equipment of EU countries.
Tran Quoc Manh, board chair of the Saigon Trade and Production Development Corporation (SADACO), said wood businesses have been studying the terms of the agreement and are confident of meeting EU standards.
Manh also proposed that the state increase support for businesses in training and provide up-to-date information about the EVFTA. In addition, industry associations need to work closely with the government in the EVFTA implementation.
|HAWA Chairman Nguyen Quoc Khanh said wood businesses must maintain production to be ready to meet partners’ demands.|