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Legally produced wood to boost furniture exports to US: VIFORES

Vietnam must promote the trade of legally produced wood and avoid illegal sources to secure a firm foothold in the US furniture market, according to Chairman of the Vietnam Timber & Forest Products Association (VIFORES) Do Xuan Lap.

The ongoing trade war with China has forced the US to seek suppliers of wooden furniture and other wood products from Vietnam and elsewhere, Lap said, adding that the majority of Vietnam’s exports to the US are high value-added timber products.

The US is among Vietnam’s five largest buyers, besides Japan, China, the EU and the Republic of Korea, that last year together imported 14.27 billion USD worth of wood products from Vietnam, or 90.4 percent of the total, he noted.

Over the past three years, the US market has accounted for more than 60 percent of Vietnam’s woodwork shipments, with cabinets and sofas being the most sought-after items, the VIFORES leader revealed.

About 68 percent of woodwork orders received by Vietnamese producers from overseas have come from the US so far this year, he added.

To boost woodwork exports to the US, Lap said Vietnam’s timber industry must sustainably develop legally produced wood and say no to high-risk suppliers.

It is also important to avoid any association with origin fraud, he said.

Vietnamese woodworks have been inspected by US authorities on the above matters, he emphasised, particularly referring to the fact that in late 2020, the Office of the US Trade Representative launched investigations into Vietnam’s alleged imports of wood illegally harvested in Cambodia, Cameroon and Congo.

Data showed that despite COVID-19, Vietnam exported 15.96 billion USD worth of wood and forestry products in 2021, up 20.7 percent from the previous year.

The country is currently home to 5,580 wood and forestry product producers, including 767 FDI enterprises. Most of the timber producers in Vietnam (42 percent) are located in the Southeast region, mainly Ho Chi Minh City and the provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Binh Phuoc./.