Malaysia’s timber industry has enjoyed a high surge despite the country’s economy seeing a decline, according to the Malaysia Timber Council (MTC).

MTC’s Chairman, Wee Jeck Seng, said the country is ranked 10 th on the world’s biggest home interior exporting countries list, with an average growth rate from 32.4 million ringgit (RM) (9.1 million USD) in 1980s to 6.3 billion RM (1.8 billion USD) in 2014.

He noted that 80 percent of total timber products are exported mainly to major markets including the US , Japan and Australia .

Higher export volumes to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Russia mean that Malaysian enterprises are expanding their business to new markets such as Algeria, Greece, Puerto Rico and Libya, he added.

The country’s government plays an important role in developing the industry, especially by introducing preferential tariff schemes and creating a friendly business climate for the industry.

Since 2005 the government has implemented a special programme on forestation and is targeting to plant 375,000 hectares of forest by 2020. Once completed, each 25,000 hectare plot will produce about five million tonnes of timber.

Malaysia aims to earn 53 billion RM (15 billion USD) from exporting interior and related timber and wood products by 2020.-VNA