VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam has exported over US$3.2 billion worth of furniture this year, becoming ASEAN’s leading furniture exporter, according to the ASEAN Furniture Industries Council (AFIC).
The chairman of AFIC, Vongkot Tangsubkul, said on the sidelines of the 20th anniversary of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCMC (HAWA) on Tuesday that Vietnam had “the most powerful furniture industry in ASEAN”.
The council now has seven member wood and furniture associations from regional countries. Vietnam, represented by HAWA, became the latest member of AFIC early this year.
“Vietnam is very attractive to investors, especially those who want to find new outsourcing destinations besides China that has high labor cost and is no longer seen as an attractive destination for investors, especially in the wood industry,” Tangsubkul said.
“Vietnam’s strongest point is still the cheap labor force, who has also worked in the wood processing industry long enough to become more and more skillful.”
According to him, the Southeast Asian wood industry from 2011 to 2015 will not expect rapid growth in the U.S. and European countries but from within the region which now has more than 700 million people.
“Especially when we become a community in 2015, we should look at other partners in the region, including China, India, Japan and Korea,” he said.
Nguyen Ton Quyen, secretary general of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFORES), said Vietnam’s wood processing industry might achieve export revenue of US$4 billion.
“Given positive views on demand growth in key import markets, including the U.S. and the EU, and the preparation of Vietnamese wood processors and exporters for the U.S. Lacey Act and the EU’s Flegt Act against illegal logging, I think we will meet no obstacles in reaching the US$4 billion target,” he said.
Nguyen Chien Thang, chairman of HAWA, told the Daily wood processors and exporters would have to focus on human resource development, management and equipment investment to turn out higher-quality products, instead of quantitative development as seen in the past.