Forest industry posts trade surplus of more than USD 4 billion in H1

The forest industry gained a trade surplus of more than US$4 billion (SGD 5.4 billion) in the first six months of this year, according to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The export value of forest products in the period reached nearly $5.3 billion (SGD 7.2 billion), up nearly 20 per cent year on year and reaching 50 per cent of the industry’s plan for 2019.

Export value increased steadily in the first six months of the year, said the General Department of Forestry. About 87 per cent of Vietnam’s wood and wood product exports by value went to highly demanding traditional markets such as the US, Japan, the EU, China and South Korea.

Nguyễn Quốc Trị, head of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, said the nation has maintained its leading position in Southeast Asia in terms of forestry exports. It sits second in Asia and fifth in the world. The country has exported wood products to 120 countries and businesses have returned to the domestic market, providing a push to develop production.

During the first half of the year, Vietnam planted 108,456 hectares of forest, equal to 51 per cent of the plan for the year. 85 per cent of the planted area has certified origins for its seedlings. The area with origin certificates has produced about 9.7 million cubic metres of timber, up 4.86 per cent year on year.

The quality of domestic production continues to be improved to meet export requirements, according to the administration.

Trị said that so far this year, the agriculture and forestry sectors have faced many difficulties due to weather, deforestation and low awareness of the economic value of forest development.

The administration expected export performance to improve in the second half of the year as many businesses already have export orders. Trị said the administration is anticipating the industry will have a total export value of $11 billion (SGD 14.9 billion) for the whole year.

For the rest of this year, the administration will urge localities to complete targets on sustainable forest development, management and protection to provide quality timber for export and the domestic market. It will also focus on implementing the restructuring plan for the sector.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance will work to stop trade fraud by export firms and closely control timber imported from countries with high rates of illegal logging.

According to the administration, the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Forest Governance and Trade (FLEGT), in effect from June 1, supports co-operation between Vietnam and the EU in resolving illegal logging and trade promoting trade, and developing the local forestry industry. So far, 237,386 hectares of forest land in Vietnam have gained the sustainable management certification.