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Wood products makers eye CanadaMonday, October 31, 2011 > 10:59:58
A worker at the MDF Quang Tri Wood Co in the central province of Quang Tri processes products for export to British and Canadian markets.
HCM CITY — Wood products businesses should boost exports to Canada, a potentially lucrative market, a seminar held in HCM City last Saturday heard.
Nguyen Thanh Xuan, deputy director of the city-based Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) said Canada was a huge market with large demand for wood products and furniture.
It was the world's fifth largest importer of wooden furniture and its imports were growing at 2 per cent annually, she said.
Thanks to their improvement in quality and design and reasonable prices, Vietnamese wood products were attracting increasing interest in Canada, especially items requiring high quality, she said.
Robert Mackinnon of the Trade Facilitation Office Canada (TFO), who is leading a delegation of six Canadian buyers to Viet Nam, said Canada was a major importer and exporter, even during the ongoing economic crisis.
"Imports of goods per capita are about double the US level."
Just like the US market, however, Canada required high-quality products at reasonable prices, he said.
Last year Viet Nam had been the top exporter of furniture products to Canada among ASEAN members, he said.
Tran Quoc Manh, deputy chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Association of HCM City (HAWA), said: "It is the right time to boost exports to the Canadian market since [its] potential is no less than the US'."
Though Vietnamese exports of wooden products to Canada had increased in recent years, it remained low compared to the market's total demand, he said.
Canada has high demand for indoor furniture made of hard wood like white oak and red oak and soft wood like pine, he said.
Customers there preferred environmentally friendly products, he said.
Mackinnon said two-way communication between buyers and sellers was very important, meaning Vietnamese suppliers should know English.
Suppliers should keep buyers informed of problems such as late delivery and deal with problems like damage during shipment, he said.
"Product development is very important because buyers do not buy the same thing forever but are always looking for new products," he said.
In addition, companies should pay close attention to packaging and enclosing certificates involved in the production and other processes, he said.
They should ensure the products delivered to buyers are exactly the same as the samples sent earlier, he added.
Huynh Van Hanh, also the HAWA vice chairman said exports of wood products to Canada was worth US$84.9 million last year compared to $54.6 million in 2009.
It was $56.1 million in the first eight months of this year.
In the first nine months overall wood products export topped $2.8 billion, an increase of 16.3 per cent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Export for the whole year is expected to be $3.8 billion.
HAWA, ITPC, and TFO Canada, in collaboration with the Vietnamese Trade Office in Canada, invited the Canadian buyer delegation to Viet Nam to directly meet Vietnamese furniture and handicrafts makers and explore buying opportunities.
Besides attending the seminar, the visitors also held business meetings and visited factories. — VNS