|Last year, the export value of Viet Nam's wood and wooden products to the EU reached US$703 million, $100 million higher than in 2013. — Photo bizlive.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese exporters of wooden products should meet regulations on legal origins of the material to promote exports to the European Union, experts said at a seminar in Ha Noi late last week
The theme of the seminar was trading of wood and wooden products between Viet Nam and the European Union (EU).
The EU is the fourth largest market of Viet Nam's wood and wooden exports, after the US, Japan and China, with the demand for wooden products accounting for one fourth of the global wood product consumption, Nguyen Ton Quyen, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Wooden and Forestry Product Association, said at the seminar.
Last year, the export value of Viet Nam's wood and wooden products to the EU reached US$703 million, $100 million higher than in 2013. The key domestic exports to the EU included chairs and interior wooden products for bedrooms and offices.
In the first eight months of this year, the total export value to the market stood at $442 million. The United Kingdom, Germany and France were majors markets in the EU for Vietnamese wood exports, accounting for two-thirds of the total.
Quyen said the EU was an import market for Vietnamese wooden products and also an exporter of wooden material for Vietnamese exporters.
Domestic enterprises have imported wooden material from the EU to process products for home and foreign markets. The major imports from the EU included timber, sawn timber, veneer and plywood. Viet Nam had a total import value of $111 million for wooden material from the EU.
However, some domestic enterprises have used timber with unclear origins, according to a report on wood and wooden product trading between Viet Nam and the EU, released by the Forest Trends Organisation at the seminar.
To Xuan Phuc, the representative of Forest Trends, said integration was a chance for Viet Nam's enterprises to open their export markets and bring in more investments to the domestic wooden processing industry.
Meanwhile, integration would also bring challenges to the local wooden product processors, including risks related to the legal origins of the wooden material they use, he said.
To reduce the risk, Phuc said, the domestic wooden product exporters to the EU, as well as other wooden product makers, should increase the responsibility on using legal wood material in their manufacturing.
That action would support the domestic wood industry to remain in the EU market and have sustainable development in the future, he said.
The government and the association should encourage the enterprises to increase transparency in export products by stating the origins and legal factors of the wood.
They should also provide the EU regulations on the legal origins of the wood that are used to process export products as well as Viet Nam's regulations on production, processing and consumption of wooden products for domestic enterprises, he said.
Under the framework of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), the Government of Viet Nam has been negotiating the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU.
In the future, when the agreement is signed, the Vietnamese government would have closer mechanisms and policies to ensure the legal origin of wooden products exported from Viet Nam to the EU, he said. — VNS