Good year for timber exporters
Timber exports to China increased by 35.3 percent, by 32.3 percent to the US and by 25.5 percent to Japan.
As one of Vietnam's hard currency earners with more than US$1 billion in annual revenue wood furniture has risen impressively year after year. Vietnamese wood products have cornered the lion's share of the US market with 45 percent.
However, some experts argue that it will be difficult for Vietnam to fulfill its set export target of US$4.6 billion in 2012.
According to the MARD, the reason for this is that wood exporters are facing enormous challenges due to the ailing global economy, as well as technical barriers from importing countries and high input costs.
To meet growing consumer demands and international regulations regarding the legal origin and management of raw materials for exports, many businesses have to carefully control their quality and acquire international certificates to export their goods to certain markets.
Vietnamese wood products are shipped mainly to the EU and the US. However, these two markets are now imposing stricter new laws such as the US Lancey Act, which` came to effect in October 2010, and the EU Timber Regulation which will be implemented in March 2013.
This is troublesome for both resources of Vietnamese producers as the domestic woods do not have the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA)’s sustainable forest management (SFM) certification, while it is extremely difficult to control the origin of the imported timbers.
The fall in orders for woods from the EU is mainly due to the public debt crisis in the region. However, it is not easy to find new markets, especially when the price of raw materials, electricity, petrol, and transportation is on the rise.
The MARD has urged exporters to expand new markets to the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, where the demand for wood is still high.