Labourers unload timber for exports in Thua Thien-Hue Province. Timber product exporters have signed export contracts totalling US$3 billion for this year, $400 million higher than last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Ha
HA NOI — Timber product exporters had signed export contracts totalling US$3 billion until the year end, $400 million higher than last year, said general director of the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Product Association Nguyen Ton Quyen.
Quyen attributed the increase to a rebound in the export market and new markets, including East European countries.
Wood producers said they had received more orders at higher prices.
Director of the Lam Viet Company in southern Binh Duong Province Nguyen Liem said his company's revenues until July would exceed $6 million, equal to its sales for the whole of last year. The export prices also rose 5-7 per cent over last year, he said.
The demand for medium to high-end furniture had increased sharply after the economic crisis, said Huynh Quang Thanh, general director of Hiep Long Fine Furniture Company. His company had a turnover of $5 million in the first half of the year.
However, wood product exporters were concerned about the price hike of imported materials.
Viforest's statistics show the wood industry this year would need 6.4 million cubic metres of timber, of which domestic production could provide only 1.6 million cubic metres. Therefore, the country would have to import roughly 4-5 million cubic metres of timber to meet the annual export target of $3 billion this year.
Meanwhile, the cost of imported wood materials had surged 15-30 per cent in the past few months.
To deal with the shortage of materials, HCM City Handicraft and Wood Industry Association vice chairman Tran Quoc Manh recommended that exporters of wood products co-operate with each other to cut costs.
Mach said that 600 exporters were importing raw materials from different sources, which created volatility in the wood material market and higher costs due to freight and having less negotiating powers.
Manh also said Vietnamese exporters should pay attention to the US Lacey Act, a law that banned any wood products containing illegally harvested timber. No shipments from Viet Nam had been returned so far, but exporters needed to prepare all documents carefully to avoid trouble, he said. — VNS