Vietnam’s growing wood industry is interesting foreign investors, according to Chad Ovel, a partner at the private equity firm Mekong Capital, at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on June 12.

Vietnam is now a potential destination for investors thanks to its stable macro-economy, curbed inflation, appropriate credit growth and abundant labour and consuming markets, Ovel said.

Notably, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which is under negotiation, will offer a great opportunity for the country’s handicraft and wood industry to expand its markets, he added.

He noted that to utilise development opportunities, Vietnam needs to manufacture high-quality products by improving productivity and workers’ skills.

Nguyen Quoc Khanh, Chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA), said amidst the unstable political situation in the region and the world, Vietnam’s wood industry is emerging as a stable destination for foreign investors.

Over the past year, many large importers around the world have imported wood products from Vietnam instead of China, since the latter’s labour costs have been much higher, he said, adding that such an advantage has helped HAWA members enter new markets, raise productivity and add more value to domestic wood material.

Khanh said to maintain relations with foreign partners, Vietnamese businesses should thoroughly learn about other countries’ customs systems and seek for prestigious distributors. They also need to hire skilful designers, give more training to their marketing teams and participate in fairs in the field.

HAWA said in the coming time it will organise workshops so that its member businesses can find out more information, seek partners and promptly grasp development chances.

Vietnam is currently the largest wood exporter in ASEAN and ranks 10 th in the world.

According to General Secretary of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association, Nguyen Ton Quyen, wood export revenues hit a record high of 5.7 billion USD in 2013. If other forestry products such as handicrafts and rattan-ware items are included, the amount hit almost 6 billion USD.

Vietnam aimed to export a total 6.2 billion USD worth of wood products this year, up 9 percent compared to 2013, he said.-VNA