With the new EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), experts predict that about $1 billion worth of timber will be exported to the EU every year by 2020.
Nguyễn Tôn Quyền, vice-chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Association, said that, for many years, the export value of timber and wooden products from Vietnam to EU reached at annual average of about $650-700 million, Vietnam News reported.
The EVFTA, expected to come into effect next year, will create a positive impact on the Vietnamese timber industry. At present, Vietnam’s timber and wooden products are exported mainly to Germany, France, Spain and Italy, but with EVFTA, the export market would be expanded to other EU member countries, Vietnam News reported.
The demand for timber products from the EU has been about $80-85 billion per year, which is much larger than Vietnam’s export value of timber and wooden products to the EU.
EU timber processing technology boosts productivity by up to about 15-20 per cent, Tôn Quyền said. Under the EVFTA, together with a zero tax rate, businesses can more easily import machinery, equipment, and wood processing technology as well as learn corporate governance from the EU.
He added that the EU market had strict standards for exported timber and wooden products. A number of exporters in the North still do not know much about those standards and only about half a dozen have qualified to export their products to the EU. Meanwhile, hundreds of businesses in the Centre and the South have knowledge about those standards and EVFTA, according to Vietnam Net.
The total Vietnamese exports of wood and timber products are forecast to hit $8 billion in 2017, surpassing the yearly target of $7.5 billion, Quyền said. The figure reached nearly $7 billion in January-November, up 10.5 per cent from the same period last year, he said.
Strong growth in wood exports was seen in key markets such as the US (up 18.8 per cent), the South Korea (14.2 per cent) and Canada (13.4 per cent). The trend was attributed to an increase in processed wooden products, such as MDF (medium-density fibre board), particle board and artificial board.
Tô Xuân Phúc from the US-based Forest Trends, said Vietnam’s wood and timber exports to the US, currently worth up to $2.7 billion, might be affected by the US’s policy of creating more jobs in the US.
The US, Japan, the EU, China and South Korea are the biggest importers of Vietnam’s timber and wooden products, accounting for 90 per cent of the total value of the sector. The US imports 42.7 per cent, followed by China (14.1 per cent) and Japan (13.7 per cent).
New FTA with EU might boost timber products exports
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