|Workers make wooden planks at Phuong Thao Co in the central province of Quang Tri. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
HANOI (VNS) — The country's exports of wood and wooden products in the first quarter surged by 20.1 per cent against the same period last year to US$1.4 billion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
In March alone, wood and wooden product exports hit $490 million.
The US and China were Viet Nam's largest wood and timber product importers in the first three months of this year, accounting for 52.89 per cent of the industry's total export value. Viet Nam's exports to the US and China rose 19.85 per cent and 57.88 per cent year on year in Q1, respectively.
General secretary of the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Product Association, Nguyen Ton Quyen, said Viet Nam aimed to export a total of $6.2 billion worth of wood and timber products this year, up 9 per cent compared to 2013.
Quyen added that the export target was feasible as local exporters had signed a significant number of export contracts.
Bilateral and multilateral agreements, including the European Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), expected to be signed this year, would be a good opportunity for Viet Nam.
Viet Nam currently only had access to markets in Germany, France, Britain and Spain. If Viet Nam could export to the 27 EU countries, market potential would grow, Quyen said.
Quyen added that authorities should change current standards to fit new EU regulations. Awareness of partners in the wood and timber industry remained low regarding new trade deals, limiting opportunities provided by the VPA/FLEGT.
However, he noted that if the TPP was signed in 2014, enterprises must be prepared to adapt to large markets such as the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and Canada.
He explained if the country bought wood outside the TPP block, wood products exported to TPP countries would incur high taxes and strict legal supervision, but the tariff rate would be zero if wood was bought from the TPP block, he said. — VNS