Sarawak timber export value down 12% in 2019

The export value of Sarawak’s timber products has decreased by 12 per cent in the first nine months of the year, as compared to the same period last year, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, reported Borneo Post.

Speaking about the decrease, Awang Tengah who is also Minister of Urban Development and Resources (II), hoped that all players in the state’s timber industry would embrace change by upgrading their equipment and updating their technology.

“It is high time for industry players to change as modern technology is needed to see an increase in our products. There are many reasons why we need to upgrade and update our equipment as our timber, natural or planted, for example, is getting smaller as compared to the ones we have many years ago,” he said during a press conference at Wisma Sumber Alam here today.

He opined that the timber industry in Sarawak needs to adapt to changes and not use old technology or equipment if they still want to remain in the industry for the foreseeable future.

The total value of exports of timber products from Sarawak for January to September this year is RM3.5 billion – representing a 12 per cent decrease when compared to the export value of RM4 billion for the first nine months of 2018.

“Plywood remains a key timber product exported by Sarawak and the export value of plywood for January to September this year was RM1.8 billion compared to RM2.2 billion during the same period last year, which is a decrease of 21 per cent,” said Awang Tengah.

Awang Tengah also revealed that the main timber products exported by Sarawak was plywood which totals to an export value of RM1.8 billion (US$430.47 mil), logs (RM547 million), Sawn Timber (RM451 million), Fibreboard (RM264 million) and Veneer (RM72 million) during the period.

Japan remains the leading market for Sarawak timber products, with an export value of RM1.7 billion (US$406.56 mil).

“Despite Japan being the leading market, the export value to the country has gone down 13 per cent when compared to the export value of RM 1.9 billion in January to September last year,” said Awang Tengah.

Apart from Japan, Sarawak’s other leading markets are India (export value of RM1.7 billion), Middle East countries (export value of RM327 million), Taiwan (export value of RM239 million) and Korea (export value of RM193 million).

Earlier, Awang Tengah launched the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) Integrity Day Celebration 2019 at the Wisma Sumber Alam hall.

During the ceremony, he lauded STIDC for promoting innovation and creativity, as it has enabled STIDC staffs to carry out greater responsibilities entrusted by the State Government to promote and develop the timber industry.