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Wood processors seek markets as exports fall   2009-06-23 - Viet Nam News

Exports of wood products in the first half of the year were US$1.3 billion, down 30 per cent against the same period last year, the Viet Nam Wood and Forest Products Association (Vifores) said.

Exports of wood products in the first half of the year were US$1.3 billion, down 30 per cent against the same period last year.

Many wood product producers have had to cut back on production because they lacked orders, according to a recent survey of producers in Binh Dinh and Dong Nai provinces conducted by Vifores.

The survey showed importers were buying products at prices that were 10 per cent to 15 per cent lower than previous orders, while production costs, including transportation and electricity, had risen. And 70 per cent of wood product producers are facing losses.

Nguyen Ton Quyen, Vifores' general secretary, said besides maintaining the traditional markets of Japan, the EU and the US, wood product producers should focus on developing markets in Russia and the Middle East.

In March, producers began to search for new markets, including Russia.

However, wood product producers face difficulties in the exchange of Russian rubles into the US dollar or euros.

Quyen said wood product producers had petitioned the Government to support them in solving the Russian ruble exchange issue, which had stymied trade.

Vo Truong Thanh, general director of Truong Thanh Furniture Corporation, said wood product exports to the US showed a slight sign of recovery in April and May.

Several US importers had shifted their purchases from China to Viet Nam.

Shrinking domestic market

The purchase of wood products in the domestic market has declined this year because of the economic crisis, according to producers.

The sluggish real estate market during the last year was a major cause behind the decline of wood furniture sales.

Thanh said wood product exporters who wanted to return to the domestic market needed to reschedule their plans for production, trade, promotion and distribution networks.

It would take exporters three to four years to realise these plans, he said.

In the domestic market, wood product producers had focused on producing tables, chairs and other study tools for schools in rural areas and developing markets in urban areas, he said.



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