Malaysia’s exports of timber and timber products are expected to reach 21 billion RM (5.7 billion USD) this year, a 2.4 percent increase from 2014, said the country’s Timber Industry Board (MTIB).

MTIB Director General Dr Jalaluddin Harun said overseas shipments will be driven by the higher export of value added and finished products.

He said the board is pushing for more exports of value added and finished products for their wider profit margin, thus reducing the dependency on less profitable commodities such as sawn timber and plywood.

It will also encourage more design manufacturing as compared to original equipment manufacturing, he noted, adding that they will be limited by being dependent on reproductions.

Jalaluddin said furniture contributed 8.01 billion RM (2.17 billion USD) to exports last year and plywood and veneer bought home 5.5 billion RM (1.49 billion USD).

Malaysia, one of the largest tropical plywood producers, has seen an increase in log exports since Myanmar banned hardwood exports in April last year. Timber is the country’s third largest commodity export after palm oil and rubber.-VNA