MTC will set up new regional offices in Houston, Texas, and Rotterdam to seek new buyers in the United States and Europe as well as source for raw materials, said MTC chief executive officer Richard Yu.
He revealed that they aimed to open the Rotterdam office this month and the Houston office in the second half of this year.
“The United States is the second largest importer of timber and wood from Malaysia. Countries such as Canada and those in South America, like Chile and Brazil, are sources of raw materials.”
“So it makes sense for us to have an office there to look for potential customers and raw materials, whether pine or oak,” he said.
Yu said the European office would also cover the Middle East and African countries.
“We are looking at niche markets that are in the development stages,” he said, adding that current offices also had been realigned to widen their reach.
Yu said its office in Bengaluru, India, had been rebranded as the South Asia office to cater to regional areas such as Pakistan, while its China’s office in Guangzhou was expanded to cater to East Asian countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
RM 25 billion in timber and timber-related products to be exported in 2020
Despite worries surrounding the US-China trade war and Brexit, the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) is confident that Malaysia can export RM25 billion of timber and timber-based products by next year.
At present, he said Malaysia’s timber and timber-based products were exported to over 160 countries.
Exports of major timber products stood at RM22.29 billion in 2018, down from RM23.13 billion in 2017.
Wooden furniture continued to be the major contributor last year with RM7.79 billion worth of exports, followed by plywood (RM4.58 billion), sawn timber (RM3.66 billion) and fibreboard (RM1.19 billion).