VIFA-EXPO show promotes exports hinh anh 1Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) –
A wide range of furniture, handicrafts, interior décor and support industry products are on display at the VIFA-EXPO 2016 that opened in HCM City on March 8.

The annual Vietnam International Furniture and Home Accessories Fair has seen an increase of 42 percent in the number of exhibitors and its scale has gone up by 36 percent over last year, said Nguyen Quoc Khanh, Chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hawa).

Elaborating on the scale, he said 253 exhibitors have put up 1,243 booths this year, including 58 foreign exhibitors from 12 countries and territories, which is up 87 percent over last year.

To serve international visitors, estimated at more than 4,500, the association has signed a cooperation agreement with the HCM City Tourism Association to assist them with hotels, transport, visas, travel, and other arrangements, Khanh said.

Inaugurating the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said that despite facing drastic competition and trade barriers in export, Vietnam’s wood and wood products achieved 6.9 billion USD in exports last year, a year-on-year increase of 10.74 percent.

He said this was made possible by enterprises who improved their production capacity, designs and product quality together; and with the effective support of associations and trade promotion agencies in expanding domestic and export markets.

VIFA -EXPO 2016 offers an opportunity for trade promotion by bringing local and international companies together, creating more cooperation and business expansion opportunities, he said.

Organised by the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, Hawa, and Hawa Corporation, the fair will remain open until March 11 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre.

High hopes
Vietnam’s wood and wood products exports this year are expected to reach 7.6 billion USD, a year-on-year increase of 10.2 percent, according to the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hawa).

HuynhVan Hanh, Hawa deputy chairman, said global demand for furniture will continue to increase.

According to preliminary statistics from CSIL (Centre for Industrial Study), global furniture consumption last year reached 467.7 billion USD, up 2.8 percent over 2014, Hanh said, adding that global demand for furniture this year is expected to go up by 2.8 percent, opening up more opportunities for Vietnamese firms to boost export.

“Worldwide demand for furniture is huge, and Vietnam’s export turnover accounts for a tiny proportion of the world’s total consumption. This is a great opportunity for Vietnamese wood and wood products exporters to boost their business in the coming years,” he said.

Strong growth of the real estate market in the US, EU and Japan, which are key export markets for Vietnam’s wood and wood products, is another motivation for Vietnam’s wood working industry to expand its international market share, he added.

In addition, a series of free trade agreements that the country has signed will offer greater export opportunities for domestic firms, he said.

“The free trade agreement between Vietnam and Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, for instance, will open up opportunities for domestic firms to make deeper inroads into Eastern Europe.”

Hanh also said that the US will continue to be the biggest market for the country’s wood industry this year.

Huynh Quang Thanh, Chairman of Binh Duong Furniture Association and Chairman and CEO of Hiep Long Fine Furniture Company, said many companies under the association have export orders until June or July.

The company has exported 100 percent of its furniture products, he said, adding that it enjoyed a 20 percent in export growth last year.

“It expects sales to grow 15-20 percent this year, with its main export markets being Japan, the US and EU.”

With stable production, good quality products and processing technologies catching up with that of developed countries, Vietnamese firms are not afraid of competing in terms of prices and quality in the world market. But their marketing capacity needs to improve, Thanh said.

The woodwork industry is among the country’s 10 biggest export earners.-VNA