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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs 17 December 2014  

Exports of wood products seen growing next year
The export value of wood products is forecast to reach US$7 billion next year, said general secretary of the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Products Association (Vifores), Nguyen Ton Quyen.
This is five years earlier than the target set in the national forestry strategy in the 2006-20 period, as approved by the Prime Minister.
Quyen added that the forestry industry expects to increase exports when Viet Nam signs more trade agreements, including the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA/FLEGT) about the management of wood processing for legal exports to the European Union, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the eighth joint expert meeting and fourth negotiation session on the VPA/FLEGT recently took place with the aim of ensuring that all Vietnamese timber and timber products that are exported to the European Union are legally sourced and produced. The two sides showed their willingness to complete the negotiations over the FLEGT-VPA in 2015.
Quyen revealed that the forestry industry is also considering increasing its previous export target in the 2006-20 national forestry strategy by $5 billion to touch $12 billion by 2020.
If suitable measures and effective support policies are taken, the annual export turnover of the industry will likely reach $15 billion to $20 billion in the next 10 years, Quyen said.
However, he added, the scale of the world demand for wood products is roughly $300 billion per year, which means Viet Nam's total exports are still quite modest.
This year, Viforest estimated that the export of wood products will reach $6.2 billion, five times higher than that of five years ago.
Exports to the main markets, such as the United States and Japan, have increased significantly by 14.17 per cent and 19.47 per cent respectively.
Experts attributed the preference for Vietnamese wood products in large markets to their good quality and competitive prices.
They said that many importers have turned to Viet Nam's products instead of China's, due to high Chinese labour costs.
Viet Nam's wood products have so far been presented at more than 100 markets, including major ones such as the United States, the European Union, Japan and China.
Viet Nam is the sixth largest exporter in the world and the second largest exporter of wood interior decoration products, claiming nearly four per cent of the world market share. 

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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