Wood products are expected to fetch 5.5 billion USD in export value this year as targeted, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

In the first five months, wood and wood products gained a year-on-year increase of 10.4 percent in export value to 2 billion USD.

Those products achieved an average export value of 400 million USD each month during the first quarter this year. The figure saw a year-on-year surge of 35.2 percent in the first two months to 809 million USD and grew 15.7 percent in the first three months to 1.17 billion USD.

Vietnam also increased wood and wood product exports to its various markets, excluding Germany.

The country saw a surge of 20.7 percent in wood and wood product exports to the Republic of Korea , as well as growth of 19.1 percent in export to China , 16.3 percent to Japan , and 6 percent to the US.

MARD estimated that the export value of processed wood products would see a year-on-year increase of 10-15 percent to 5.5 billion USD.

However, enterprises exporting wood products will face many difficulties in production and business due to high input costs.

Many enterprises were forced to import 70 percent of the raw materials they needed, as local companies could meet only 30 percent of their requirements.

Vietnam will reduce the volume of natural wood exploited this year and plans to stop exploiting natural wood next year, so the local timber industry must make plans to maintain and expand production in order to achieve its export turnover target of 5.5 billion USD this year, the ministry said.

The country has drawn up sustainable growth plans for the wood product processing industry up to 2020, according to MARD.

The industry will prioritise investing in and utilising domestic forests while reducing raw wood exports and improving management of supply.

Vietnam needs an annual 3-3.5 million cu. m of timber on average.

As domestic suppliers are currently only capable of meeting 30 percent of the demand, the nation would import 4-4.5 million cu. m yearly by 2020, the ministry said.-VNA