Malaysia furniture industry performs better than expected despite cloudy economic conditions

Malaysia’s furniture exports exceeded RM10.1 billion in 2017, jumping 6.4 per cent from the year before and grew at a stronger pace compared to the 4.2 per cent achieved in 2016, according to the official trade statistics from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

The results come as a surprise as manufacturers faced challenges relating to production, material supply, red tape and softer demand for furniture last year.

Malaysia is one of the top 10 furniture exporters in the world according to the CSIL Centre for Industrial Studies. It exports exports to over 180 countries.

Still, sector growth could be challenged by a number of considerations such as:

–          Rubberwood availability

–          Export license requirement on furniture exports

–          Export of rubberwood veneer and finger-jointed sawnwood

–          Policies restricting foreign labour

Government plans to support furniture manufacturers include:

–          A moratorium on sawn rubberwood exports

–          Continued deferment of the MTIB export license requirement for furniture

–          Review of levy on veneer and finger jointed sawnwood

–          Review of the foreign worker levy and minimum wage rates