Vietnam’s wood, wooden furniture exports to reach 13.5 billion USD in 2023: Experts

WVR/VNA - Vietnam’s exports of wood and wooden furniture will reach only about 13.5 billion USD in 2023, down 15.5% year on year, President of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFOREST) Do Xuan Lap told a seminar held in Hanoi on December 21.
Vietnam’s wood, wooden furniture exports to hit only 13.5 billion USD in 2023
Vietnam’s wood, wooden furniture exports to reach 13.5 billion USD in 2023: Processing wooden furniture for export to the EU. (Photo: VNA)

Co-hosted by VIFOREST, along with various associations and member organisations, and Forest Trends, the event discussed sustainable development and challenges facing the timber industry.

Lap said 2023 is a challenging year for Vietnam's timber industry. A sharp decline in consumer demand in key export markets such as the US and the European Union has resulted in a remarkable reduction in orders. Many businesses have been compelled to scale back production, and some even faced a risk of closure.

Major export markets are increasingly enforcing stricter regulations on the legality and sustainability of products. Specifically, the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), effective from late June, stipulates that products imported into this market must ensure legality and do not cause deforestation. In both domestic and foreign markets, there is a growing demand for low carbon emissions throughout the supply chain to achieve net-zero goals. Products with high carbon content will face diminished competitiveness in the market, he said.

To Xuan Phuc, Managing Director of Forest Trends’ Forest Policy, Trade and Finance Initiative, said about 77% of Vietnam’s wood exports to the EU belong to wood furniture category (HS 9401 and HS 9403) while the remainders are wood and raw materials (HS 44). In the first 11 months of this year, the export turnover of wood and wooden furniture to the EU dropped by 32% year on year.

EU buyers did and will apply various voluntary sustainable production and consumption standards for wood products, such as those with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for sustainable forest management. Additionally, Vietnam and the EU have signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT), under which, Vietnam committed that all wood products exported to the EU are legal, he added.

According to the official, the industry’s growth will slow down, by some 10-12% next year compared the late quarters of this year. The key focus for next year is to establish an image of sustainable development for the Vietnamese timber industry, based on using certified wood and creating products with reduced emissions.

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(Source: WVR/VNA)