Photo for illustration (Photo: VNA)

Deputy General Director of the VAF Cao Chi Cong said foreign investment and cooperation have significantly contributed to the forestry sector’s growth in recent years.

Vietnamese wood and forestry products are exported to over 120 countries and territories worldwide.

Vietnam ranks first in ASEAN, second in Asia and fifth in the world for wood exports. It is one of the key exports for the country’s agriculture and rural development sector.

Cong said the forestry industry is Vietnam’s sixth most important export sector with annual average growth of over 13 percent from 2010-2018.

According to Dien Quang Hiep, Chairman of the Binh Duong Furniture Association (BIFA), Vietnam’s forestry industry has enjoyed tax reduction from the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), creating conditions for wood exporters to reach out to the world market.

However, challenges related to the high price of materials, strict quality requirements, design and origin of products require Vietnamese enterprises to build specific plans and development strategies, Mr Hiep said.

They should focus on maintaining export growth in big markets such as the US, Japan, China, the EU and the Republic of Korea; and expand market share in new markets such as South America, Russia, Australia, Canada and India, he added.

Vietnam’s forestry sector aims to lift its export turnover of wooden products to USD12-13 billion in 2020, and between USD18-20 billion by 2025.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the export value of wood and forestry products in the first eight months of 2019 reached USD7.08 billion, up 18.6 percent year on year.

The US is the largest market for Vietnam's timber industry, accounting for 45 percent of the industry's total export value. Export growth to the market hits 15-17 percent each year./.