HA NOI — The timber products market needs to promote local business and develop the export market this year to deal with the greater difficulties, said the HCM City Fine Art and Wood Processing Association.
|Workers at the Viet Anh Wood Co Ltd. Producers have decided to expand exports as they face even more challenges this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
The association reported in 2011 that the wood processing industry gained its target of US$3.9 billion, an increase of $500 million from the previous year.
But, in fact, wood processors earned a small profit from exports due to the European economic downturn. Europe is a major export market for Vietnamese wood, as well as an area of low competition, the association said.
It reported that in 2011, 55 per cent of the total domestic wood producers suffered losses and produced moderately. Thirty per cent of them broke even while 15 per cent saw little profit.
Tran Quoc Manh, vice chairman of the HCM City Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA), said that in 2012 domestic wood exporters would still face many challenges, such as the European Union's Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) that would come into effect on March 3 and the tight monetary policy in the US.
The trend in wooden product export moved from outdoor furniture to indoor furniture. Wooden product exporters should make prices suitable for each export market and improve the quality and design of products, he said.
Viet Nam leads ASEAN exporters
Ha Noi — Viet Nam became the largest exporter of timber and wood products in ASEAN last year with US$3.9 billion in exports, said the ASEAN Furniture Industries Council (AFIC) which is focused on promoting the interests of ASEAN furniture industries.
Wood products accounted for more than 80 per cent of Viet Nam's total wood and timber exports, a significant increase over the previous level, according to the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City.
Dhanakorn Kasetruwan, Vice President of AFIC, said he believed that the timber trade volume could improve significantly if a timber production zone with stable and competitive pricing was established in the region to help ASEAN exporters enhance their competitiveness, productivity and efficiency before the birth of the ASEAN Economic Community.
ASEAN would become a single market by 2015, with larger capital flow, information and labour forces, he said.
AFIC is made up of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Viet Nam, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines. — VNS
On the other hand, exporters would compete more because large companies would have more orders, while small businesses would lack orders.
Right now, the exporters should boost trade promotion, especially on the domestic market.
According to the association, most companies had growth in business last year because they paid attention to both the export and domestic markets.
The association advised the wooden product makers to strategise their advertising and distribution of products at the domestic market to avoid dependence on export markets.
Nguyen An Diem, chairman of the Fisico management board, a company specialising in wood export trade based in central Binh Dinh Province, said exports of handicrafts and outdoor furniture were advantageous in the past. But now, Fisico did not sign large export contracts, producing other wooden products and focusing on the develop-ment of business at home.
Ngo Thi Hong Thu, deputy chairman of Truong Thanh Furniture Company, said in addition to exports, the company also served the domestic market with middle-class and luxury wooden products.
Her company had distribution systems at supermarkets and provided furniture to resorts, luxury hotels, buildings and trading centres.
Nguyen Van Chuong, director of BA Co Ltd, promoted business for luxury furniture at the domestic market when the company had disadvantages in export. It professionally invested in wooden furniture, from design to selling price, to compete with Chinese furniture made from other materials such as metal and plastic.
Manh, the association's vice chairman, said companies should maintain their traditional export markets and also expand to new markets via international trade fairs for furniture on the world market. — VNS