Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – More than 400 Vietnamese firms are exporting timber products to Europe, which is the 4th biggest market for Vietnam’s wood exports, accounting for over 10 percent of the country’s total export of the products.

Vietnam’s export of wood products to the EU is expected to get a boost with the signing of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT-VPA) between the two sides in Brussels, Belgium, on October 19.

According to Vice Chairman and General Secretary of Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFORES) Nguyen Ton Quyen, EU is considered a very important market for Vietnamese timber products. FLEGT-VPA will help Vietnam export directly to 28 European countries without having to go through intermediary countries.

Quyen said the market would grow. In a few years, wood export value to the EU would grow from 700 million USD today to more than 1 billion USD.

To fulfill criteria set by the European market, Vietnamese firms have to obtain certificates and carry out paperwork to clarify the legal origin of their timber products.

In response to the requirement, a number of localities have developed wood material zones meeting Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards.

The northern province of Tuyen Quang has 19,700 ha of FSC-certificated forests to date and is striving to have another 4,500 – 5,000ha certified in 2019. Meanwhile, central Quang Tri province ranks first in the country with more than 25,000 ha of certified forests.

Vietnam is one of the world’s leading wood processing and exporting countries with an export turnover of 8 billion USD in 2017. The figure is expected to hit 9 billion USD this year.

The country earned more than 7.61 billion USD from exports of forestry products between January and October, 84 percent of the yearly target. Timber and wood products contributed 7.23 billion USD to the revenue.

The nation sets a target of 20 billion USD in wood exports by 2025.-VNA