Tropical Timber Market Report

Amidst the economic uncertainties facing the world right now, the woodworking sector is beginning to come to grips with the steep challenges that they may face next year. ITTO tells us more about how different parts of the world are reacting to this.

Africa

Weak demand in China having a major impact

The combination of the slowdown in orders from China and bad weather has meant that operators in the GSEZ have cut production and reduced the workforce. 

The cut back in production means lower log input and this has affected the operations of the independent loggers as it comes with lower prices.

The slowdown in exports to the Chinese market has become very noticeable with purchases of some species specific for China completely halted. For example, beli, a timber previously in high demand, is now out of favour as are okan, padouk and even okoume. The only species China is buying at the moment is ovangkol (amazakoue in Cameroon and the Ivory Coast). 

Producers hope for a revival in demand from China after the February New Year celebrations. There may be some hope as the Chinese government has recently acted to support the real estate sector.

Demand in other markets is reported as stable and there are reports of improved prices for iroko in Middle East markets. However, demand for tali has declined and this is said to be because of higher than usual stock in Vietnam.

Despite the weak demand for okoume for the Chinese market orders continue to flow from buyers in the Phiippines where there is also interest in dabema.

 

Malaysia

Many sectors depend on foreign workers

The labour shortage is still a major problem and is holding back the recovery from the economic slowdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Sectors dependent on foreign manpower such as manufacturing, food and beverage and plantations are among those currently facing an acute shortage of workers.

The return of foreign workers to Malaysia continues to be delayed mainly by bureaucracy and issues with source countries over worker protection.

The chairman of the National Recovery Council (NRC), Muhyiddin Yassi, has alerted government that addressing the availability of foreign labour is an urgent matter. It has been reported that requests have been lodged for around 1.2 million foreign workers for all industries but only 76,000 arrived as of September this year.

 

Commerce extends deadline on cabinet investigation

On 21 September the US Department of Commerce received a recommendation from the International Trade Administration (ITA) to extend the deadline for its ruling on the circumvention investigation on wooden cabinets from Malaysia which it is claimed originate in China. 

The original deadline for the preliminary determination was 7 November 2022. To provide more time the deadline of for the ruling is 17 March 2023.

The Malaysian Furniture Council continues to advise its members to remain vigilant and cooperate with the US authorities should there be any further enquiries.

 

Evergreen shifts to Indonesia

Evergreen Fibreboard Ltd will soon be shifting part of its medium density fibreboard (MDF) manufacturing capacity to Indonesia from its current location in Batu Pahat, Johor. 

The move was primarily attributed to the issue of insufficient supply of rubberwood raw material.

 

Malaysians at PHILCONSTRUCT

In a press release the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) reported a recent visit by the MTC and the Malaysian Wood Moulding and Joinery Council (MWMJC) to the Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA) where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed which aims to promote development of the timber trade and establish timber trade standardisation between the two countries.

The visit coincided with the PHILCONSTRUCT Trade Show 2022 in which 12 Malaysian timber companies participated. As one of Malaysia’s important export destinations in ASEAN the Philippines offers significant export opportunities. Malaysia and the Philippines are traditional timber trade partners.

In 2021, Malaysia was the largest exporter of fibreboard to the Philippines amounting to US$23 million and was one of the top 5 exporters of wooden furniture, particleboard, and plywood worth US$22.4 million, US$16.2 million and US$11.3 million respectively. The Philippines exported wooden furniture to Malaysia worth US$0.1 million in 2021.

 

Malaysia ratifies the CPTPP

The Malaysian Cabinet has ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). 

Malaysia is the ninth country to ratify the CPTPP along with Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and Peru. The UK is in the final stages of acceding to the CPTPP while China, Ecuador and Costa Rica have also applied to join.

Malaysia’s ratification of the CPTPP will give the country a boost in market expansion through further reduction in tariffs and non-tariff barriers. The CPTPP broadens Malaysia’s access to markets such as Canada, Mexico and Peru, which are not covered by any existing trade agreement. 

Under the CPTPP, by 1 January 2033, almost all Malaysian exports to CPTPP member countries will enjoy duty-free access.

 

Bio-composite as a raw material for furniture

The Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) is promoting outdoor furniture made with wood plastic composites (WPC) as an alternative for the furniture industry. 

The bio-composite can be a blend of sawdust, kenaf and rice husk and plastic. The MTIB through this initiative hopes to stimulate public interest in bio-composite products and create awareness of its potential.

 

Malaysian imports of wood products

The latest statistics released by the MTIB show surprising strong interest in imported plywood and wooden furniture, both of which are manufactured in Malaysia. 

Not only are these items imported against local products, they are imported in significantly high amounts.

 

Indonesia

New direction for SVLK

The Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) has been transformed into a Legality and Sustainability Verification System in which Indonesia has a commitment to produce verified legal and sustainable timber products.

The Secretary General of the National Accreditation Committee (KAN), Donny Purnomo, said that to ensure consistency and competence in the application of SVLK it is necessary to coordinate with all stakeholders.

In the future, to simplify the system, the accreditation currently carried out by multiple agencies will be conducted by one entity, the Independent Verification Assessment Agency (LPVI).

This merger will be very beneficial because, in addition to saving accreditation costs, it will also allow the implementation of assessments to be carried out simultaneously, said Purnomo.

The chairman of the Committee for Organisational Development, Human Resources and Regional Strengthening of APHI, Tjipta Purwita, said that the SVLK generates a positive image of responsible forest management. He added that good forest management should be supported with incentives.

 

Overseas representatives asked to promote SVLK

Indonesia's forestry sector has great potential to support green growth through the use of wood products and other forest products. Support from overseas diplomats to promote the forestry sector can expand opportunities.

During an event on capacity building for diplomats with the theme ‘Indonesian Forests: Sustainability and Competitiveness’ the chairman of the Indonesian Forestry Community Communication Forum (FKMPI), Indroyono Soesilo, asked for the support of Indonesian Representatives abroad to promote the country’s SVLK Indroyono explained that, to address the issue of illegal logging and sustainability, Indonesia has developed a Legality and Sustainability Verification System (SVLK).

Another issue that has been answered through the government policies is deforestation. According to Indroyono, various Indonesian government policies have succeeded in keeping the rate of deforestation very low.

 

Cooperation to support SFM and inclusive growth

To support the Indonesian government in achieving its FOLU Net Sink the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) and the Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD) is encouraging a deforestation-free supply chain through sustainable and inclusive forest management.

Together with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry TFA supports a communication platform for sharing information and supports good forest practices to attract investment.

The TFA and the Investors Policy Dialogue on Deforestation (IPDD) and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) signed a cooperation agreement in which TFA was represented by the Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD) as an entity of the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) in Southeast Asia. 

The signing of this MoU is to support the achievement of the FOLU Net Sink 2030 climate agenda through sustainable and inclusive forest management.

 

Boosting forest management capacity

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry is determined to raise the institutional capacity of Forest Management Units (KPHs) and communities to encourage community-based sustainable forest management.

Agus Justianto, Director General of Sustainable Forest Management in the Ministry, said the Forest Investment Programme 2 (FIP2) project is designed to strengthen the institutional capacity of KPHs and local communities so that decentralised forest management can improve forest-based livelihoods.

 

MoU for biomass supply

The Indonesian Embassy in Japan has facilitated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between PPT Energy Trading (PPT ET) of Japan and PT. Agro Industri Mandiri and T Inti Persada of Indonesia for the supply of biomass.

In addition, the Embassy facilitated the signing of an MoU between PT Riu Mamba Karya Sentosa and PT Alam Bumi Cemerlang in Fukuoka, Japan to conduct a study for the construction of wood pellet plant in the country.

 

Exports resilient despite sluggish Chinese demand

Indonesia's export of wood products continues to rise even though demand in China has weakened. However, a global recession would seriously impact export growth. Data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) analysed by the Association of Indonesian Forest Concession Holders (APHI) shows Indonesia's wood product exports up to September earned US$11.07 billion, a year-on-year rise of 13 percent.

Most growth came from an increase in exports of paper products (US$3.15 billion), wood panels (US$2.63 billion), pulp (US$2.52 billion) and furniture (US$2.15 billion). Indonesia's timber export trade depends on four main markets, Japan, the European Union+UK, the US and South Korea. A market that has recently been developed is India.

The growth in exports to India is promising and for the year to September there was a 35 percent year-on-year expansion. As of September exports to China were recorded at US$2.36 billion, a 21 percent decline from the same period in 2021. Indonesia's wood product exports to Japan in the first three quarters of 2022 increased 15 percent year-on-year to US$1.14 billion. 

Exports to the EU+UK rose 54 percent year-on-year to US$1.3 billion and exports to the Republic of Korea increased slightly to US$585 million.

Throughout this year export growth in the US market increased steadily but in September there was a downturn as wood product exports dipped 19 percent to US$1.77 billion.

The decline in exports to the US was because of a drop in furniture exports which fell 40 percent from US$1.41 billion in January-September 2021 to US$849.3 million in January-September 2022.

 

India

Interest rate increases not deterring home buyers

While the risk of recession looms around the world drives down consumer sentiment and delays investment in new homes even with rising interest rates Indian consumers are shopping for homes. Interest rates have risen in India as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) moves to combat inflation but, as yet, the rate rises have not deterred home buyers.

According to the RBI, India’s housing price index (HPI) recorded an annual growth of 3.5 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 compared to 1.8 percent growth in the previous quarter.

India’s housing sector has seen a sharp revival in demand and is now up to its pre-pandemic level. This was a surprise as house prices and sales rose hand in hand during this period.

It has been suggested that the pandemic changed everything including consumer behaviour, buyer type, the way of searching for properties and even prices and it is now the young generation that are the main drivers of demand.

Millennials (the so-called Ola/Uber generation) have emerged as the key demand drivers and this is the result of the prevailing uncertainties, stock market volatility and financial sector incidents according to Anuj Puri, chairman of the ANAROCK Group. 

Many millennials now prefer buying over renting homes which provides a sense of security associated with physical assets.

 

Wood based panel production set to rise

Wood is now becoming the key raw material driving growth in the wood panel sector especially plywood, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), and particleboard.

As wood raw materials are becoming scarce in Northern States it is the Southern Indian States that are attracting investment in wood-based panels. The Mysore belt in Karnataka is attracting new factories as the region is a key supply point for eucalyptus.

In Gujarat, Surat based Krifor Industries recently started a particleboard mill and the Gmica group is about to begin production in January. Gandhidham-based Lohit Boards aims to begin production this year also and two more particleboard plants are expected to begin production of wood based particleboard in Gujarat. 

Ply-Reporter estimates suggest 2023-24 will be a significant year for new wood based particleboard and cumulative Indian capacity would be doubling by 2024.

 

Vietnam

Wood and wood product export update

Wood and wood product (W&WP) exports in October 2022 are estimated at US$1.2 billion, up eight percent compared to September 2022 and up 26 percent compared to October 2021.

WP exports in particular are estimated at US$747 million, up two percent compared to September 2022 and up 19 percent compared to October 2021. Over the first 10 months of 2022 W&WP exports were US$13.5 billion, up 11 percent over the same period in 2021.

WP exports accounted were US$9.3 billion, up three percent over the same period in 2021. Wood imports in October 2022 are estimated at 660,700 cubic metres, worth US$241.1 million, up 31 percent in volume and 31 percent in value compared to September 2022. Compared to October 2021, imports increased by 65 percent in volume and 55 percent in value.

Over the first 10 months of 2022 wood imports amounted at 5.236 million cubic metres, worth US$2 billion, down five percent in volume, but up eight percent in value over the same period in 2021.

Exports of NTFPs, including rattan, bamboo, sedge etc. in October 2022 reached US$60 million, up 22 percent compared to September 2022 but down 13 percent compared to October 2021. In general, over the first 10 months of 2022 NTFP exports contributed US$703.20 million to overall exports.

In October 2022, Vietnam's W&WP exports to EU markets reached US$39 million, up six percent compared to October 2021. Over the first 10 months of 2022 W&WP exports to EU markets reached US$513.3 million, up six percent over the same period in 2021.

Exports of living room and dining room furniture in October 2022 contributed US$222.6 million, up 33 percent compared to October 2021. Over the first 10 months of 2022 exports of living room and dining room furniture were valued at US$2.57 billion, up three percent over the same period in 2021.

Pine imported into Vietnam in October 2022 reached 96,200 cubic metres, worth US$24.0 million, up 30 percent in volume and 31 percent in value compared to September 2022. Compared to October 2021, imports increased by 19 percent in volume and 0.3 percent in value.

Over the first 10 months of 2022, pine wood imports reached 897,700 cubic metres, worth US$246.7 million, down 26 percent in volume and 16 percent in value over the same period in 2021.

 

W&WP exports dropping

Over the first 10 months of 2022 W&WP exports reached US$13.5 billion, a year-on-year growth of 11.4 percent. Of this, WP exports were valued at US$9.3 billion, up just three percent over the same period in 2021. The majority of the growth has been mostly in woodchips and wood pellets.

From May 2022, W&WP exports tended to drop and the exports in September decreased sharply compared to that in August 2022 as many businesses were lacking orders and operating at modest level. Under the current business conditions, W&WP exports for the year may not achieve the US$16.5 billion target.

Contrary to previous years when W&WP exports often increased in the last months of the year this year with the economic recession and high inflation in major markets exports are trending down since the beginning of the second half of the year.

Woodchip exports have achieved a record growth due to the escalating demand from China. Similarly, wood pellet exports, mostly to South Korea and Japan for power generation, have been experiencing high growth.

In recent months W&WP exports to the US, the top market, have been decelerating. Over the first nine months of 2022 exports to the US recorded at US$6.8 billion, up two percent over the same period in 2021.

Unlike the US market, exports to Japan, China and South Korea are increasing. In Japan and Korea, in particular, there is high demand for wood pellets. In addition, the potential to export wooden furniture to these markets is also very positive because these markets are less affected by inflation while the demand of wooden furniture is recovering.

 

Wood imports from the US and EU falling

In October 2022, wood import volumes were 660,700 cubic metres, equivalent to US$241.1 million up 31 percent in volume and 31 percent in value compared to September 2022. Compared to October 2021, the volume increased by 65 percent in volume and 55 percent in value.

Over the first 10 months of 2022, imports of this item are estimated at 5.24 million cubic metres, worth US$2.0 billion, down five percent in volume but up 8 percent in value over the same period in 2021.

The volume of non-tropical timbers including pine, ash, poplar, oak, eucalyptus and spruce imported for export furniture manufacturing decreased due the scarcity of overseas orders. On the contrary, imports of tropical/expensive hardwoods (tali, padauk, rosewood, walnut etc.) for the domestic market increased.

In the first nine months of 2022, pine topped the imports (17.5 percent) reaching 801,500 cubic metres, worth US$222.6 million year-on-year down by 29 percent in volume and 17 percent in value. Ash wood imports decreased by 2.4 percent in volume, but increased by 10 percent in value, reaching 361,000 cubic metres, worth US$94.6 million accounting for 7.9 percent of the total imports.

Cottonwood imports decreased by 12 percent in volume but increased by 8.5 percent in value with a volume of 291,000 cubic metres, worth US$146.1 million. Imports of other major species dropped—oak down 10 percent, eucalyptus down by 13 percent, spruce by 2.1 percent, and fir by 0.5 percent.

 

VAT refund delays spell trouble for wood exporters

The Association of Vietnam Timber and Forest Product (VIFOREST) has written to the Ministries of Agriculture-Rural Development and Finance proposing removing obstacles in verifying replanted-forest wood for a VAT refund. According to VIFOREST, until now the VAT refund is stuck.

Under the prevailing regulations the time limit for VAT refunds should not exceed 40 days upon the tax authorities’ receipt of the valid dossiers filed by the enterprises. The outstanding amount due to exporters has reached VND1,000 billion.

The VAT refund delays have caused some wood exporting enterprises to suspend exports and limit operations. If the situation continues, many wood exporting enterprises will be forced to close their businesses negatively affecting the replanted-forest wood supply, including millions of forest farmers.

There is a bottleneck in the VAT refund settlement process because of the inconsistency of forest products-origin tracing regulations between the General Department of Taxation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The requirement for each locality and forest owner to verify in detail the wood origin made by the above authorities is not practical as there are multiple intermediaries in the supply chain.

VIFOREST therefore proposed the ministries maintain consistency in guiding the enterprises to verify wood origin. It also requested the tax authorities to carry out VAT refund settlements for the enterprises at the earliest.

 

Falling orders put brake on enterprises

Profits of many industrial sector companies are slowing down, preventing a recovery of the economy and wood and timber groups are feeling the pinch perhaps more so than others.

A decline in export orders and reduced working hours are widespread especially in labour-intensive industries such as textiles, footwear and wood. The situation is expected to last at least until the end of the year as demand in the main export markets, the US and Europe, continues to fall.

For Vietnam’s wood and timber industry, the sharp drop in orders is dragging down the country’s export growth and has been like this for three consecutive months. 

In the five previous years, Vietnam’s wood exports increased by 10-20 percent annually and many companies said they had expanded their investment which gave hope for record growth in the coming years.

In May this year, Truong Thanh Wood Industry Group in the southern province of Binh Duong wanted to increase the capacity of factories and lease an MDF board factory to be self-sufficient in raw materials. That was at a time when many Vietnamese wood companies heavily invested in expansion and believed that exports of timber and forest products would reach US$20 billion by 2025.

However, despite optimistic signs, Vietnam’s exports of wood and forest products have now declined for three consecutive months with exports in July only reaching US$1.41 billion, down 5.5 percent compared to June and 1.6 percent over the same period in 2021. Orders declined in most of Vietnam’s main export markets such as the US and EU.

According to a survey by Forest Trends and local associations of 52 businesses, 33 out of 45 enterprises currently exporting to the US said their revenues had decreased by nearly 40 percent. Compared to the first months of the year only 10 enterprises reported an increase in revenue compared to the previous months, but the rise was very low, only around 11 percent on average.

Firms exporting wooden furniture to the EU market were also in a similar situation. Among the 38 enterprises participating in this market, 24 reported that their revenue dropped by over 40 percent compared to the previous months and only four reported an increase in revenue.

The survey by Forest Trends also showed that 44.2 percent of businesses said they could hold out for another three to six months, and 23 percent said they could hold out for more than 12 months. However, 19 percent said they could only survive for the next three months without new orders.

As more wood manufacturers have to look for new markets to make up for the shortage of orders, there is another headache related to incomes and jobs for workers. Since the end of June, Great Veca Co Ltd in the southern province of Dong Nai has cut production due to a sharp drop in orders. The company’s failure to better organise production has dragged down the income of employees to around US$215 per month. Under normal order conditions the basic salary of employees would be in the range of US$300-430 per month.

Meanwhile, the situation in Binh Duong is also grey. Thuan An Wood JSC has gave employees a rotational leave in August. According to the company, since July orders from Europe, which account for over 90 percent of its exports, decreased in almost all segments such as beds, cabinets and chairs.

Nguyen Liem, chairman of the Binh Duong Wood Processing Association, said, “The labour force at wood enterprises in Binh Duong has now been reduced by 100,000 people compared to before the recent Covid-19 pandemic.”

Vietnam’s wood processing industry is mainly concentrated in Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Dinh and Ho Chi Minh City.

However, Do Xuan Lap, chairman of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association, said, “Companies are under a lot of pressure from bank loans, input materials and other costs like labour, exports, and transport. It will be very difficult to achieve the current export target of US$16.5 billion in 2022.”

Although there is speculation about when the global market demand will recover, there is much consensus that export orders by the end of the year will not be as high as previously.

Forest Trend’s quick survey also backed up this trend as about 70 percent of businesses said that orders until the end of the year will continue to decrease.

Truong Thanh Wood is now trying to diversify its markets by expanding exports to the Middle East and Russia to find a way to offset its losses.

 

Japan

Sentiment among manufacturers at new low

Sentiment among Japanese manufacturers dropped to a new low in early November but in the services sector the mood improved. This, according to analysts of the recent Reuters poll, highlights the unevenness of Japan's economic recovery.

 

Inflation set to dampen household spending

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has reported Japan's household spending in September increased from a year earlier, rising for the fourth month in a row as people spent more money following the removal of coronavirus restrictions.

The question is whether the improvement in household spending will be sustained given that inflation rose to three percent in September, the first time in over 30 years and this will dampen spending. At the same time, real wages fell 1.3 percent from a year earlier in September marking the sixth consecutive month they dropped.

Falling real wages may herald a further cooling of consumer sentiment in the coming months and a bleak outlook for consumption which accounts for more than half of Japan's gross domestic product.

 

New economic package to prevent economic downturn

In an effort to help struggling households and companies, especially small enterprises, cope with inflation the government has arranged a new economic package worth 39 trillion yen (US$264 billion) focusing on steps to ease the pain of higher prices passed on to households, spurring wage growth and preventing any economic downturn after the modest recovery from the pandemic.

Securing enough funding is a challenge for heavily indebted Japan whose debt has ballooned to more than twice the size of the economy.

The recent surge in inflation is attributed to higher energy and raw material costs, most of which are imported at sharply higher prices because of the weak yen exchange rate. Many commentators say the inflationary pressures have been made worse by the Bank of Japan's (BoJ) monetary easing policy. Core consumer inflation exceeded three percent in September, the sharpest gain since 1991, but still well below that in other similar economies.

 

China

National standards on wood-based panels

The committee on Standardisation Administration of China (SAC) under the State Administration for Market Regulation released 708 recommended national standards and three revised lists of national standards, including four recommended national standards on wood-based panels.

 

GB/T 41715-2022 Oriented strand board(OSB)

GB/T 24312-2022 Cement particleboard Substitute for old standard GB/T 24312-2009

GB/T 26899-2022 Laminated wood for structure

Substitute for old standard GB/T 26899-2011

GB/T 23825-2022 Gas Analysis method for Formaldehyde

Emission Determination of Wood-based Panel Products

Substitute for old standard GB/T 23825-2009

 

Decline in wooden furniture exports to EU

In the first nine months of 2022 the value of China’s wooden furniture exports to the EU amounted to US$3.153 billion, down 19 percent over the same period of 2021. Wooden furniture exports to the largest consumer the UK fell 23 percent to US$974 million which pushed down overall export values.

In addition, China’s wooden furniture exports to the EU member states, Germany, France, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Italy and Demark declined 19 percent, 8 percent, 19 percent, 3 percent, 37 percent, 25 percent, 26 percent and 27 percent over the same period of 2021 respectively.

In the first nine months of 2022, the total value of China’s wooden furniture exports rose 6 percent to US$19.61 billion from the same period of 2021 but China’s wood furniture exports to the largest consumer, the US, fell 7 percent to US$5.49 billion.

 

Decline in wooden furniture imports from the EU

In the first nine months of 2022, the value of China’s wooden furniture imports from the EU came to US$548 million, down six percent over the same period of 2021. Wooden furniture imports from the largest suppliers Italy, fell four percent to US$325 million.

In addition, China’s wooden furniture imports from the top EU countries, Germany, Poland and Lithuania amounted to US$89 million, US$38 million, and US$11 million, down 19 percent, two percent and 59 percent respectively over the same period of 2021. However, China’s wood furniture imports from France and Denmark rose 10 percent and 52 percent to US$17 million and US$10 million respectively.

In the first nine months of 2022, the total value of China’s wooden furniture imports fell seven percent to US$694 million from the same period of 2021. Chi na’s wood furniture imports from Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia also fell 17 percent, 30 percent and 19 percent respectively, but from Indonesia imports rose 10 percent.

 

Vietnam imposes anti-dumping duty on Chinese furniture

On 30 September 2022 Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade issued Decision No. 1991 (1991/Q-BCT) to apply provisional anti-dumping measures against some furniture (table and chairs) originating in Malaysia and China. The latest anti-dumping duties imposed ranged from 21.4 percent to 35.2 percent. The duty will become effective in mid-October.

The authorities in Vietnam said this was because of a ‘significant’ increase in the number of tables and chairs imported from China which had hurt domestic production.

It has been reported that on 1 September 2021, Vietnam launched an anti-dumping duty investigation against imports of table and chair products from China and Malaysia.

The survey pointed out that the volume of table and chair products imported from China was significantly higher than the domestic production and sales volume in Vietnam which had a serious impact on the Vietnamese furniture manufacturing industry. 

China is now Vietnam's main trading partner and a source of key raw materials and equipment for its manufacturing sector.

In the first nine months of this year bilateral trade between China and Vietnam stood at US$131.7 billion, of which Vietnam imported products worth US$91.6 billion from China. Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade said it would continue to collect information from relevant parties to assess the impact of anti-dumping measures on all parties.

 

Policies to stabilise foreign trade

In the first eight months of 2022, China's imports and exports once again showed strong resilience but there is increasing pressure to maintain steady growth and the authorities found it necessary to introduce a new round of policies to stabilise foreign trade to help enterprises.

The Chinese government has put forward policies and measures to ensure production and the implementation of contracts and further promote unimpeded trade. The Ministry of Commerce will implement a new round of foreign trade policies to ensure that this year's goal of maintaining stability and improving foreign trade is achieved including ensuring timely delivery of foreign orders.

Given the current slowdown in external demand growth it is important for companies to ensure that orders can be produced, shipped and delivered on time.

In terms of production protection, the government ‘Policies and Measures’ clearly state that local governments should strengthen the protection of export enterprises in various aspects such as epidemic prevention, energy use, labour use and logistics and give full support when necessary to ensure timely delivery of foreign orders.

In terms of protecting key enterprises, the Ministry of Commerce has established a ‘whitelist’ of foreign trade enterprises proactively providing front-line services to solve the practical difficulties of international foreign trade enterprises. Customs clearance operations will be conducted to support the new policies.

 

Largest timber production base in Guangxi

Guangxi ranks first in China in the area of plantation forests, the scale of national reserve forest establishment and harvestable volumes and has become the largest timber production base in China. Through construction of a new land-sea corridor in the west the local government will build a major forest product trading hub node.

Over the past ten years Guangxi has planted 200,000 hectares of trees annually and its timber output has increased seven percent annually. With about five percent of the country's forest land, Guangxi has produced nearly half of the country's domestic timber.

The total output value of the forestry sector increased from RMB219 billion in 2012 to RMB849 billion in 2021 with an average annual growth rate of 16 percent and the total output value of the forestry industry jumped to the second place in China.

Guangxi hosted the China-ASEAN Forest Exhibition and the World Conference on Wood and Wood Products Trade becoming an important node of the ‘double cycle’ of forestry, attracting timber trading enterprises from Southeast Asian countries, Russia, Canada, New Zealand and other countries.

China's first modern forest industry demonstration zones have been built by the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region People's Government and the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China. Guangxi will accelerate the development of green forestry industry and take steps to expand ecological and environmental protection, production of high-end furniture and home furnishing, forest pulp and paper integration, forest biomedicines.

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