December 5, 2022

EU doors open wider for Vietnamese wood and furniture

VIETNAM, May 11 –

Nguyễn Tuấn, Deputy Director of HCM City Trade and Investment Promotion Center, speaks at a seminar on exporting furniture and other wooden products to the EU market. — Photo courtesy of the center

HCM CITY – Việt Nam has many opportunities to boost exports of wooden products and furniture to the EU market in the post-pandemic period, experts say.

Speaking at a seminar organized by the Investment and Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday, its deputy director, Nguyễn Tuấn, said that the EU is among the top 15 furniture importers. wood, handicrafts and interior and exterior decoration products from Việt Nam.

In 2020, Germany remained the leading European importer of interior and exterior wood products from Việt Nam with 22% of imports, followed by the Netherlands (13%), the United Kingdom (12%) and France (11%), Italy (4.6%) and Belgium (4.5%).

However, the pandemic has strongly affected economies around the world, including the EU, affecting exports to this major market.

In addition, the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict has triggered an economic crisis in the EU, directly affecting people’s lives, changing tastes, needs and trends in product purchase and consumption.

Christine Le, business development manager at Bureau Veritas, said it was important to comply with quality and sustainability requirements to export to the EU market.

“To break into the market, good quality is the first thing companies need.”

European consumers also want to know about working conditions and corporate social responsibility standards, she said.

Nguyễn Chánh Phương, vice president of the Ho Chi Minh City Wood Crafts and Industry Association, said Vietnamese exporters have benefited from free trade agreements such as the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, making them more competitive and allowing for the expansion of export markets.

Many companies in the wood industry received enough orders to keep their workers busy throughout the third quarter and even until the end of this year thanks to a rapid recovery in production.

The industry saw slight growth in the first quarter of 2022, with wood and wood furniture exports increasing 3% year-on-year to $3.94 billion.

Difficulties persist

Exporters of furniture and other wood products face several challenges, including shortage of raw materials, rising raw material prices, labor shortages and factory capacity, officials said. experts at the seminar.

High logistics costs are another challenge, caused by supply chain disruptions.

Companies also face trade barriers and intense competition from other exporters.

Exporters must ensure legal timber sources by increasing the import of raw materials from low-risk countries, connecting with importers in developed countries and investing in timber cultivation in Việt Nam, the authorities said. experts.

They also need to pay attention to branding, product design and pricing to ensure they remain competitive, they added.

Despite a difficult 2021 due to the pandemic, exports of wooden furniture, handicrafts and indoor and outdoor products reached 14.5 billion dollars last year, up 17.2 % compared to 2020.

Việt Nam exports wooden furniture, handicrafts and indoor and outdoor products to some 140 countries and territories, with the EU, US, Japan, China and South Korea being the main markets. —VNS