June, 01 2012 09:39:58

Wood product exports set to increase

HCM CITY — Viet Nam's wood and wooden products exports are expected to increase by 11-12 per cent this year, a conference heard in the city yesterday.

Last year exports were worth US$3.95 billion.

Global demand for wooden products is forecast to rise by 3.3 per cent this year, thank to higher demand in emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and South America, according to Vo Truong Thanh, chairman of the Binh Duong Furniture Association.

Demand in Japan would remains high, while wood processing factories there had not returned to normalcy after the early 2011 tsunami and earthquake, giving Vietnamese firms an opportunity to expand market share, he told the conference organised by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the financial date services Dun&Bradstreet.

"The US also offers Vietnamese firms much opportunity to boost exports since many kinds of wooden products the US imports from China, the largest exporter to the US, face anti-dumping tariffs," he said.

The appreciation of the Chinese yuan and rising labour costs already pushed up prices, he pointed out.

Many US importers want to find other sources like Viet Nam and other ASEAN member-countries instead of putting all their baskets in the China basket and face the risk of the yuan appreciating, according to Thanh.

"With supply falling, especially from China, Thailand, and Malaysia, global prices of wooden products are on the rise, so local firms should negotiate with importers to raise export prices in the latter half of the year," he said.

William M.Gadd, chief representative of the International Housewares Association, said foreign buyers were looking for chemical-free products, those made of sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, unique items, and those made in certified factories in compliance with international standards.

Besides price and quality, they were also concerned about delivery reliability and timely quotations, something Vietnamese companies should pay attention to, he said.

Thanh said because of the economic downturn exports were more difficult since importing countries had raised barriers to protect their domestic industry, and Vietnamese exporters must remain abreast of new rules to avoid risks.

Local firms also faced hurdles posed by the rising costs and interest rates, he added. — VNS

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