Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) is expected to create a breakthrough for timber and wooden products. Experts forecast about US$1 billion worth of timber to be exported to the EU annually by 2020, according to an official of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Association.
Nguyễn Tôn Quyền, vice-chairman and general secretary of the association, said for many years, export value of timber and wooden products from Việt Nam to EU reached at annual average about $650-700 million.
The EVFTA, expected to come into effect next year, will create a positive impact on the Vietnamese timber industry. At present, Việt Nam’s timber and wooden products are exported mainly to Germany, France, Spain and Italy, but with EVFTA, the export market would be expanded to other EU member countries.
In fact, demand for timber products in the EU has been about $80-85 billion per year. That is much larger than Việt Nam’s export value of timber and wooden products to the EU.
EU timber processing technology boosts productivity by up to about 15-20 per cent, he said. Under the EVFTA, together with a zero tax rate, businesses can more easily import machinery, equipment, and wood processing technology as well as learn corporate governance from the EU.
Quyền said the EU market had strict standards for exported timber and wooden products. A number of exporters in the North still do not know much about those standards and only about half a dozen have qualified to export their products to the EU. Meanwhile, hundreds of businesses in the Centre and the South have knowledge about those standards and EVFTA.
To take full advantages from the agreement in exporting goods to the EU, businesses need to constantly learn, update information and improve themselves.
Growth in exports
Total Vietnamese exports of wood and timber products are expected to hit $8 billion in 2017, surpassing the yearly target of $7.5 billion, Quyền said. The figure reached nearly $7 billion in January-November, up 10.5 per cent from the same period last year, he said.
Strong growth in wood exports was seen in key markets such as the US (up 18.8 per cent), the South Korea (14.2 per cent) and Canada (13.4 per cent). The trend was attributed to an increase in processed wooden products, such as MDF (medium-density fibre board), particle board and artificial board.
Tô Xuân Phúc from the US-based Forest Trends, said Việt Nam’s wood and timber exports to the US, currently worth up to $2.7 billion, might be affected by the US’s policy of creating more jobs in the US.
The US, Japan, the EU, China and South Korea are the biggest importers of Việt Nam’s timber and wooden products, accounting for 90 per cent of the total value of the sector. The US imports 42.7 per cent, followed by China (14.1 per cent) and Japan (13.7 per cent). — VNS