Addressing the event, Nguyen Hoai Bao, member of the HAWA executive board, emphasised that despite export activities facing numerous difficulties caused by the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, the Vietnamese wood industry raked in over US$13 billion last year.
Most notably, exports to the US market enjoyed a surge of 34% to over US$7 billion compared to 2019, meaning the US has become the leading export market of the domestic wood and handicraft sector.
Despite these positives, Bao explained that the US is one of the markets that has set the strictest standards in terms of origin traceability and legality of wood products, thereby forcing local businesses to regularly update the legal system and related regulations as a means of avoiding trade risks and to fully tap into the fastidious market.
Julie Hundersmarck, a specialist at the US Forest Service International Programs, emphasised that despite facing fierce competition from a variety of regions, US importers have a preference to do business with suppliers from Asia, including Vietnam. Indeed, moving forward the US Forest Service has initiated plans to assist the country in controlling the origin and legality of wood products which are exported to the US in order to ensure sustainable development.
Last year saw the sales of furniture products in the US reach US$115 billion, with this figure forecast to hit US$143 billion over the next five years.
Experts have also pointed out that the level of consumer spending on furniture products is projected to increase moving forward, despite the outbreak of COVID-19, noting that local manufacturing firms must be sensitive when selecting investments. As such, they should regularly be introducing fresh products and developing additional trade channels in order to attract customers in an effective manner.