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Vietnam's Wood furniture, handicrafts exports show recovery signs, but challenges persist
[Feb 22, 2024]

While optimistic about a recovery in wood products exports, industry insiders also cautioned about the challenges ahead and said businesses should adopt flexible strategies and enhance promotions to retain their traditional customers and get new ones.

Speaking at a meeting held to introduce the 2024 Vietnam International Furniture & Home Accessories Fair (VIFA EXPO) in HCM City on February 20 Trần Ngọc Li¨ºm, director of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry¡¯s HCM City branch, said exports of wooden products declined for the first time in 2023 after two decades of impressive growth.

But there have been positive signs since the fourth quarter of last year, and especially in January, he said.

In January exports topped US$1.49 billion, a 72.5 per cent increase year-on-year and accounting for 29 per cent of all agricultural exports, he said.

With inflation in the US, the biggest importer of Việt Nam¡¯s wooden products, easing, demand is expected to go up, he said.

Executives attending the meeting said they have export orders for until the end of the second quarter.

But buyers now order smaller volumes than before, and require products to come in more new designs or product samples since they are also striving to find the right products, they said.

Trần Quốc Mạnh, vice chairman of the Việt Nam Handicraft Exporters Association, said: ¡°Making product samples would result in higher costs compared to mass production, but we have to get used to it.

¡°Firms need to coordinate with customers to create new designs to conquer target markets.¡±

They also expressed concern about the rising logistic costs and shipping times due to the Red Sea tension, saying it would adversely impact the industry¡¯s export, especially to the US and EU.

Li¨ºm said the market still faces potential difficulties due to complicated and prolonged geopolitical conflicts.

"In the current context trade promotion is extremely necessary."

VCCI HCM City will organise the 15th VIFA EXPO along with the Vietnam Association for Construction Materials and the Alliance Handicraft & Wooden Fine Art Corporation (Li¨ºn Minh Company) from February 26 to 29.

The fair is expected to provide opportunities for businesses to showcase their products and connect with more potential partners, he said.

Điền Quang Hiệp, general director of B¨¬nh Dương-based Minh Ph¨¢t 2 Indoor Furniture and Sofa Co., Ltd, said businesses could no longer depend on traditional customers but need to proactively seek new export markets and also invest in increasing capacity, productivity and competitiveness.

Fairs and exhibition are effective promotion channels that help wood industry enterprises meet prospective partners from all over the world and keep abreast of market trends, he added.

Source: vietnamnews.vn