|A wooden chair production line at a furniture company in Tuyên Quang Province. Việt Nam’s furniture exports have been surging despite COVID-19. — VNA Photo Vũ Sinh|
HCM CITY — Việt Nam’s furniture exports to large markets such as the US and UK are growing despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In the first half of the year exports of furniture and home-furnishing surged 70 per cent year-on-year to US$10 billion.
According to the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City, wood processing businesses are expanding production amidst rising demand for end-of-year shopping.
Major markets such as the US, the UK, France, and Netherlands have all bought around 50 per cent more furniture and home-furnishing items from Việt Nam year-on-year in the first six months, according to the ministry.
Bùi Thanh An, deputy head of its Trade Facilitation Agency, said furniture businesses are doing a good job of surviving the pandemic.
Industry trade groups have been helping and guiding them, and international traders highly regard the Vietnamese wood processing industry’s resilience, she said.
Businesses have been considering new strategies for the new economic situation, such as looking for more sustainable raw material sources and using technology to reduce labour.
Benjamin Petlock, a senior agricultural attaché at the US embassy, said furniture from Việt Nam is “received positively” in the US.
Trade in wooden products between the countries has been growing in recent years, and would continue do so in future, he said.
The pandemic is disrupting global supply chains, leading to high transportation and production costs, but the supply chain would soon be re-established when more countries can chart clearer strategies to live with COVID-19, he added.
Bùi Chính Nghĩa, deputy head of the General Department of Forestry, said the wood products industry should look to exploit the country’s abundant legal timber supply to develop more sustainably.
This would allow them to rely less on imports, whose prices have been rising due to the pandemic.
Last year Việt Nam replaced China as the US’s biggest furniture supplier.
The country also became the world’s second biggest exporter of wood and wood products with exports of $13.17 billion. — VNS