HA NOI — Wood workers and stonemasons in the central province of Binh Dinh are in difficulties due to the economic slowdown and provincial leaders are working to devise measures to help them.
|Wooden chairs are made for export at Nhon Hoa Industrial Zone in central Binh Dinh Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Hong Ky
"Current problems are causing the decline of two of the major industries in the province," said the director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Kim Phuong.
Costs of raw materials have increased sharply even as the prices of finished products have remained steady or even declined due to falling demand. Access to credit remains difficult, and even those that can secure bank financing face steep interest rates.
Binh Dinh Stone Association president Pham Xuan Thuy said, "Stonemasons in the province also lacked quality raw materials due to unprofessional and manual exploitation techniques."
In the face of the global economic recession and the eurozone debt crisis, European importers have been very careful about signing new contracts, or have made smaller orders, said Binh Dinh Timber and Forest Products Association chairman Nguyen An Diem.
The masonry sector saw production value of only about VND300 billion (US$14.3 million) in the first seven months of this year, down 25.5 per cent from the same period last year. Production of the wood products industry hit barely VND1.6 trillion (74.8 million), a modest increase of 1 per cent over last year.
Firms have asked authorities to help them access capital, stabilise production, and find new markets.
Provinicial People's Committee chairman Le Huu Loc has also requested the State Bank of Viet Nam's provincial branch to create favourable conditions for businesses to obtain loans.
Outdoor furniture has become a saturated market worldwide, so some industry experts have recommended that local furniture exporters convert to manufacturing interior furniture to ensure sustainable development.
Stone processors could do more sale promotion and study market demand more carefully in order to trim inventories, experts said. Companies also needed to build long-term strategies to upgrade equipment and technologies to make higher quality products. — VNS