The rise in COVID-19 cases in Vietnam has caused productions to halt in August and September, causing a sharp decline in exports. But Vietnam’s wood sector still has a chance to pull up its exports and reach their target for 2021 if they can resume production quickly, according to experts.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Le Minh Hoan, commented that the first eight months of 2021 witnessed a 41.4% year-on-year surge in timber and wood product export revenue to US$10.4 billion, and exports of furniture alone reached $7.98 billion. These figures and efforts are encouraging, despite the modest figures in exports for September.
Bui Thi Thanh An, Vice Director of the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, cited statistics from the ministry and showed how in H1 2021, the sector earned $10 billion from the export of both interior and exterior furniture and handicraft products, representing a 70% rise year-on-year.
About 60% of wood processing facilities in Vietnam are partners of US firms, according to Mary Tarnowka, Executive Director of the America Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam. The halt in productions in Vietnam due to social distancing measurements had affected US retailers, but US’s demand for Vietnamese furniture continued to rise regardless, said Tarnowka. The US’s retailers are confident in Vietnamese wood sector’s supply capacity.
Alain Cany, EuroCham Chairman said that European firms are not likely to switch their orders from Vietnam to China or other countries. Furniture retailers, especially those in the US, will likely maintain partnership with Vietnam, considering that major furniture supply sources are still struggling, according to experts.
But Vietnamese furniture enterprises are still facing materials and labour shortages, and they stressed the need for the reopening of the market to deal with these major problems.
Do Xuan Lap, President of the Association of Vietnam Timber and Forest Product (VIFOREST) said that businesses in the sector are working hard for fast recovery. He noted that opportunities are opening up for Vietnamese furniture industry, despite the ongoing COVID-19 difficulties.