||Asean Affairs 26 June 2013
Wood firms safeguard sustainable growth
The Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA) plans to take several steps to improve the sustainability of the industry and help its members increase exports.
The association held its sixth congress last Sunday to review the 2010-13 period and set plans for the next three years.
Speaking at the event, HAWA Chairman Nguyen Chien Thang, said the wood and handicraft industry continued to have significant growth, despite the recession of the last three years.
During that period, the association held professional training courses, trade promotions and seminars for its members.
As a result, companies had improved their designs as well as management competence, he said, adding that they had also learned about importing requirements of other countries.
In addition, to help its members improve competitiveness and enter global markets, HAWA has signed a number of cooperation agreements with international organisations.
Tran Quoc Manh, deputy chairman of HAWA, said that the association's website had also become a key source of information for businesses.
Manh noted that businesses in the next few years would face a fall in demand in local and global markets as well as higher input costs and more trade barriers imposed by importing countries.
In order to ensure the industry's sustainability, he said that HAWA would continue to hold more seminars, fairs and training courses in collaboration with local and foreign partners.
It also plans to organise more trade promotions and work with local agencies to improve those programmes.
Moreover, better communications between the Government and businesses, as well as between HAWA and its members, will also be a major goal.
Forecast for exports
Wooden-product exports in the first half of the year are estimated to reach US$2.2 billion, up 10 per cent over the same period last year, according to Nguyen Ton Quyen, vice chairman-cum-general secretary of the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Products Association (Vifores).
Speaking to Viet Nam News on the sidelines of the conference, Quyen said that export growth this year had slowed considerably, especially compared to the first half of 2012, when it rose by 17 per cent over 2011.
He attributed the slower growth in exports this year to a drop in demand from the EU market, one of the major import markets for Vietnamese wooden products.
"Exports are expected to go up in the remaining months of the year, especially starting from September," he said.
However, some companies have been forced to cancel year-long export contracts because of financial difficulties and a labour shortage.
He said Vifores would petition the Government to take measures to help struggling companies.
This year, wooden-product exports are expected to top $5.2 billion, up 10 per cent over last year.
Last year, the country earned $4.7 billion from wood and wooden-product exports, a year-on-year increase of 17 per cent.