Viet Nam joins int'l timber group

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam has become the 69th member of the International Timber Organisation (ITTO), and its entry is expected to bring more benefits to the country's forest sector.

Nguyen Ba Ngai, Deputy Director General of Administration of Forestry, announced the entry of Viet Nam yesterday at a press conference by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

"By joining ITTO, Viet Nam has shown its progress towards international integration and its readiness for regional and international co-operation on tropical forest management, as well as the promotion of responsible trade of tropical timber and timber products," he said.

Ngai said that the Vietnamese Government had intended to join the organisation in 2005, but it took nine years to fulfil all necessary procedures.

Collins Ahadome, ITTO's Assistant Director said at the conference that Viet Nam joining the ITTO was a historical result as the country had been waiting for too long to be part of the organisation.

He also expressed the ITTO Secretariat's support and his strong commitment to assist Viet Nam in the approval for its capacity building projects, to actively participate in the ITTO and strictly implement its member state rights and obligations.

ITTO is an intergovernmental organisation under the auspices of the United Nations established in 1986. Its members represent about 80 per cent of the world's tropical forests and 90 per cent of the global tropical timber trade.

Nguyen Ton Quyen, General Secretary of the Viet Nam Timber and Forestry Products Association, said that the country's forest sector had made significant progress in increasing forest cover and developing material plantations and timber processing for export in recent years.

He said that the timber industry and products have become one of the ten sectors, which have the largest export turnover in Viet Nam.

The association's statistics show that the total export turnover of timber products in the first six months of this year was estimated at US$3 billion, a 14 per cent increase over the same period last year. The largest market for the export of Viet Nam's timber currently is the US followed by Europe.

In 2013, Viet Nam's timber export turnover was $5.5 billion, and accounted for 4 per cent of the global market. It also made Viet Nam the second largest timber exporter in Asia.

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