Vietnam Wooden Furniture Manufacturers Fear Material Shortages

A report from the General Department of Customs (GDC) showed that export turnover of all woodwork items in the first four months of the year increased significantly.

Vietnam exported $680 million worth of products in April and $2.6 billion in the first four months of 2018, an increase of 9 percent over the same period last year.

Wooden furniture manufacturers expect another prosperous year in 2018 as demand is predicted to continue to increase globally.

According to Nguyen Ton Quyen, deputy chair of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (Vifores), the target of $9 billion turnover this year is within reach. However, to obtain such high export turnover, Vietnam would need a large amount of materials.

The agriculture ministry reported that by the end of April 2018, Vietnam had imported $698 million worth of timber materials, up by 2.5 percent compared with the same period last year. 

It is estimated that for every $1 billion worth of increased export turnover, the material needed would be 3.5 million cubic meters. Meanwhile, domestic sources (planted forests) can only satisfy 10-15 percent of demand.

Every year, Vietnam collects 18-19 million cubic meters of timber, but only 2-3 million cubic meters can be used to make wooden furniture, while the rest are chips for artificial boards.

To solve the material shortage, Vifores has proposed the state restrict material exports, especially chips which can be used for other work. It has also suggested fully exploiting domestic materials such as rubber wood and fruit tree wood.

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