Furniture exporters must establish new standards and acquire professional certificates in order to successfully tap into the EU and US markets, said speakers at a conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on March 13.

Huynh Van Hanh, deputy chairman of the HCM City Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA), said that many markets, including the EU and the US, have limited their imports by setting trade barriers that create obstacles for Vietnamese exporters.

He said that Vietnamese exporters will have to be even more well-prepared as there will be many more new regulations in the pipeline.

Requirements and standards mentioned in the conference include the chain of custody (COC) certification system provided by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Participants said that Vietnamese furniture exporters should use these standards if they want to broaden their markets in Europe and the US.

According to experts, this is a leading global certification system that promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management and products worldwide.

As of now, about 21,000 companies in the world have such certificates, while only 314 companies in Vietnam have it.

At the conference, HAWA and its partners said they will help Vietnamese companies learn about the certificate and apply it to their operations.

According to HAWA, handicraft and furniture exports to the EU and the US has continuously increased, with turnover jumping 10 times within the decade from 2002 to 2012.

HAWA expects exports to continue to rise if companies meet the standards set by importers.-VNA