AHEC recommits to South East Asian markets as trade fairs return

AHEC’s convention in Bangkok

With the return of physical trade shows, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has renewed its focus on South East Asia market, with over 40 American hardwood exporters visiting the region for events and trade visits in October 2022 as a commitment to the region.

AHEC kick-started their trip to South East Asia with their convention in Bangkok where AHEC’s 25th South East Asia and Greater China Convention was held on 14 Oct.

Over 200 delegates, including influential individuals from the South East Asian timber industry met to listen, discuss and network at an all-day event hosted by AHEC.

John Chan, regional direction of AHEC, commented: “We could not have been happier with the convention. It was wonderful to meet friends old and new face-to-face after so long being forced to only meet on screen.

“It was a great chance for our members to present their product and capabilities to businesses from Thailand and to start conversations with those who are part of the growing focus on sustainable American hardwood species in our region.”

Following the Bangkok convention, AHEC participated in VietnamWood, held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre from 18-21 Oct.

According to AHEC, that was their first time hosting a pavilion for participating members since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Response among American exporters was so overwhelming that the pavilion was unable to house all who expressed interest.

The AHEC pavilion in VietnamWood

Over 40 American hardwood exporters, both within and outside the AHEC pavilion, were represented at VietnamWood.

Recognising the change in market conditions in Vietnam,  AHEC members saw huge value in visiting the country and establishing their commitment to business through representation at the fair.

Michael Snow, executive director of AHEC, said: “AHEC and our members came here knowing that the current market climate is challenging. We are committed to the market in good times and in bad.

“We believe the Vietnam market will emerge stronger in time to come. In the meantime, we will continue working with our partners to promote the use of American hardwood in furniture, interior design and mass timber.”

Beyond the trade fair, exporters also took the opportunity to visit their customers in Vietnam whom they have not met in years.

The AHEC team also visited a furniture factory run by AA Corporation in Tây Ninh province. The company shifted operations to a new factory in 2019 with a focus on sustainability, experimenting and installing solar panels right from the start. As a producer of custom luxury interiors and furniture, AA Corporation is a user of American hardwoods including white oak and walnut.

“We are delighted to be back in Vietnam this year. Vietnam is one of AHEC’s key markets, and we have many key partners here. Beyond the VietnamWood trade show itself, it is a great opportunity for members to renew long-standing relationships with their customers. We look forward to returning next year,” concluded Chan.