At the conference (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Experts have discussed promoting legal timber products in public procurement in Vietnam at a conference in Hanoi on June 19.

Attendees talked about practices and challenges in implementing the Voluntary partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam on Forest law enforcement, governance and trade (VPA/FLEGT).

Director of the WTO Centre and Integration under the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nguyen Thi Thu Trang said the Government has paid special attention to the wood sector in recent years.

After six months of negotiations, the Government and the EU signed the VPA/FLEGT, which took effect on June 1, 2019.

The agreement focuses on eliminating illegal wood from the supply chains, including timber products for export and domestic consumption. 

According to Trang, annual expenditure for government procurement accounts for about 20-30 percent of the State budget, of which a large amount is spent on timber products. However, there are no statistics available at present on timber-related public procurement.

Ensuring only legal timber is bought under government procurement is important to promote the enforcement of the VPA/FLEGT in the country, she said.

She proposed adding the condition on the legality of goods and services in public procurement.

To Xuan Phuc, Southeast Asia analyst for the Forest Trade and Finance Programme, said the signing of the VPA/FLEFG marked the dual role of the Government as both the promulgator of regulations to ensure the legality of timber products, and the beneficiary of wood products within the framework of public procurement activities.

Vietnam exports timber products to 120 countries and territories, including the EU, the US, Japan, China, the Republic of Korea and Australia. In 2018, Vietnam’s exports of wood and timber products reached a record value of 9.3 billion USD, 900 million USD of which was to EU markets. -VNA