Vietnamese furniture exporters have made significant gains with the country’s furniture export turnover expected to cross US$4 billion this year.
|Workers craft items at a wood furniture factory. (Photo:SGGP)|
The furniture export turnover touched $3 billion in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 17 percent compared to the same period last year. September alone saw the export turnover cross $402 million.
However, such an impressive growth rate has not come easily for exporters who have to face obstacles like difficulty in obtaining or importing raw wood, said Nguyen Ton Quyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association.
Quyen said that after the ban on logging of forest wood in the country, exporters have to import 4,000,000 cubic meters of wood each year from Laos, Africa and some other countries.
The biggest problem for exporters is not lack of orders, but the increasing cost of raw material. Everything is becoming so much more expensive, from raw timber to packaging, said Quyen.
In addition, Vietnamese wood enterprises are facing an obstacle in the form of the Lacey Act. Wood furniture exporters now have to comply with the Lacey Act when sending shipments to the U.S, said Quyen.
Similarly, the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Act (FLEGT), which aims to stop illegal logging and poor forest governance, will take effect from January 2012.
Quyen said that enterprises need to reduce import of raw wood by increasing afforestation and improving quality of wood products. The Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association must also train local manufacturers to purchase wood legally and create a control system for the trade of wood and wood items.
The wood products industry in Vietnam has around 2,500 domestic enterprises processing wood products for domestic consumption and 400 foreign investment companies contributing to roughly 50 percent of the total wood export turnover.
Vietnamese wood products are exported to 120 countries in the world. Major markets include the US with 38 percent, EU countries with 44 percent and Japan with 12 percent.