Increases in export orders of wood products are likely to see the sector hitting a value of 4 billion USD in wood exports for this year, slightly higher than last year's 3.9 billion USD.

Nguyen Chien Thang, chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA), said almost all major wood processors have signed export contracts to be fulfilled by the end of this June.

However, Thang said many domestic wood processors still face difficulties in ensuring capital and in overcoming surging production costs.

"One important thing now is that local producers should improve marketing activities and the designs of their products," he said.

Vo Truong Thanh, chairman of the Binh Duong Furniture Association (Bifa), said recently, export orders of wood products have increased in volume and value after a long period of sluggish exports.

Exports were held back in part due to a shortage of supply, as many small- and medium-sized wood producers had reduced production or closed due to difficulties in capital and short supply of raw materials, Thanh said.

The time was right for wood export producers in Vietnam to increase exports and selling prices, which would contribute to substantial revenue growth for this year, he said.

HAWA predicted that the major export markets for Vietnamese wood products this year would be Asian countries and South American countries. In particular, the export value of Vietnamese wood products to Japan rose by 27 percent since the end of 2011 and would continue the increase this year, thanks to high demand for wood in construction projects following last year's massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan , Thang said.

Meanwhile, American partners returned to local wood producers to order export products instead of China as before because of competitiveness in price, said Thanh.

Therefore, the total export value of wood products was expected to top 4 billion USD this year, higher than last year's level of 3.9 billion USD.

The sector is also aiming to better ensure supply of raw timber. Nguyen Ton Quyen, chairman of the Vietnam Wood and Forestry Product Association, said that under the national development strategy for the forestry industry, by 2020, the sector would be able to meet domestic demand for wood as well as for export.

That meant until 2020, local producers have to continue to still import raw materials for export processing, often at high prices.

"So they must seek solutions to increase their competitive ability against wood product producers from other countries," Quyen said. -VNA