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Vietnam-made wood furniture enters US, EU

Leading Vietnamese outdoor furniture maker Scansia Pacific Co. Ltd. has clinched a $200,000 deal to ship nine containers of woodwork to the US and the EU.

The Ho Chi Minh City-based company’s outdoor furniture is made of imported materials mainly from the US, Brazil, New Zealand and Canada.

According to the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (Vietfores) wood chairs are popular in the US market, estimated to spend over $3 billion a year importing the item, generating an opportunity for Vietnam take an even bigger bite out of the robust market.

Sector overview
Vietnam’s exports of wood products hit a record of almost $2 billion last year, a year-on-year jump of 20 percent.
The Ministry of Trade forecast the sector could reach $5.5 billion by 2010, overtaking China in exports to the US.
The nation’s formal WTO member is expected to present more opportunities with duties and trade barriers coming down in foreign markets.

Wood prices having risen 30-40 per cent in the past three years, following a ban on logging and timber exports in regional countries.
Local sources meet a mere 20 percent of their timber demand, with the remainder imported from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, resulting in high costs.

In fact, over the last two years, the two largest Southeast Asian exporters, Indonesia and Malaysia, had stopped exporting sawn lumber.
As a result, several Vietnamese companies have been having trouble sourcing timber.
Last year, the woodwork industry had to pump more than $1 billion into importing wood material and machinery and accessories.
Vietfores suggested the local producers import wood from Canada, which had a wide variety of timber at competitive prices.

With Canada also being a promising market for Vietnam's wood furniture and handicrafts, the Vietnamese industry should tie up with Canadian partners both to buy raw material and sell its products.
Russia is also viewed as a market for both buying timber and selling wood products.

The association has also expedited setting-up of three centers specialising in importing materials to improve the situation - one each in the country's southern, central and northern regions.
Additionally, it has been suggested that producers should work together to handle large export orders when one received an order exceeding its production capacity.
The whole industry would benefit from this kind of cooperation.
Vietnam ships wood products to 120 countries and territories.
Japan and the EU are the most lucrative markets, with the US close behind.

Source: Tuoi Tre/Thanh Nien News

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