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July 3, 2008

Vietnam’s wooden furniture exports taking off
Vietnam earned nearly US$1.4 billion from the export of furnitures over the past six months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 20.4 percent, state news agency VNA reported, quoting the General Statistic Office.

The figure brought the industry to the 6th place among the country’s key exporters, behind crude oil, garment and textiles, footwear, seafood and rice.

Vietnamese wood-based products have earned a firm foothold in 120 countries and territories, accounting for 0.8 per cent of market share with the US, the European Union, and Japan being the three key markets.

Made-in-Vietnam furniture has also been exported to new markets such as Canada and a number of East European countries.

The Vietnam Woodwork and Forestry Products Association forecasted that woodwork export will continue increasing rapidly by between 10-40 percent by 2010, particularly in major markets.

However, it is necessary to solve problems facing the sector, including the lack of materials and skilled workers, in order to fulfill the target of exporting $5 billion worth of wood-based products by the decade-end.

Vietnamese wood producers and processors are focusing on developing high-valued products in a bid to increase added value for each product and prevent anti-dumping lawsuits.

The move is demonstrated by a prestigious woodwork exporter - the Saigon Daklak Joint Venture Company (Sadaco) which has shipped abroad furnitures each worth between $1,100 $1,800, more than doubling its previous price, according to its General Director Tran Quoc Manh.

Manh stressed that this is a new trend adopted by local businesses as Vietnam still receives a few orders for high-valued products.

However, in the context when exporters tend to look for low-cost products, the woodwork export sector of Vietnam still has many opportunities to turn out products of high competitiveness and to invest in long-term plan for high-valued commodities.

The sector is drawing 17,000 labourers who are working in 1,600 wood processing businesses nationwide, including 250 foreign-invested ones.

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