Vietnam has a diverse sourcing market for wooden products and furniture, counting for more than 4% of the global market. It’s the second-largest market in Asia, and the largest in Southeast Asia, putting it under the spotlight from major trading partners. Since Vietnam’s admission to the WTO in 2007, the industry has grown much, particularly as eleven of its thirteen free trade agreements have been signed already.
In addition to local sourcing of wood materials, Vietnam relies strongly on imported wood to meet the demand for products used domestically and overseas. As a result, an increasing number of wood manufacturers seek to import wood from overseas in the most effective way. In this article, we review the most important information to be aware of if you plan on importing wood to Vietnam.
Vietnam’s Wood Industry
Vietnam’s furniture industry has been active for decades and recently surpassed Poland and Germany to become the world’s second-largest furniture exporter, trailing only China. The industry has grown by double digits in recent years and is expected to grow even more with the implementation of new lucrative trade agreements.
According to Vietnam’s General Department of Forestry, exports of wood and wooden products totaled 10.42 billion USD in the first seven months of 2022, a 1.3% increase over the same period the previous year. This sustainable development is expected to continue in the coming years, contributing to the growing demand for wood materials.
As Vietnam becomes a key manufacturing hub, more and more foreign companies are establishing factories in the country, which also facilitates the growing demand for wooden pallets to support and move goods in warehouses, or for exports.
When reviewing local wood types available, Acacia and Rubberwood are among the most popular materials for Vietnamese domestic furniture production, these wood types grow significantly faster in hot and humid climates. Yet, many companies must import raw materials as their foreign clients are unfamiliar with Vietnamese wood types or prefer Western wood.
What foreign wood types are in demand in Vietnam?
There are a handful of foreign wood types in high demand in Vietnam, including:
White Oak is a strong, versatile, and popular wood type used for top-quality furniture production. Given its luxurious look and stable supply possibilities, white oak remains one of the most important and sought-after wood species for furniture making in Vietnam, being used in cabinetry, indoor furniture, and engineered flooring.
Ash is widely used for furniture manufacturing and is widely used for doors and general cabinetry due to its attractive price along with high quality, pleasing color and pattern. In the meanwhile, Beech is a relatively ‘low-cost’ hardwood species that is used for cabinet making and simple furniture, such as toys and chairs.
In terms of pine, thanks to its durability, versatility, and abundant production, it remains the preferred material for sofa framing, low-value components, such as bed-slats in furniture. Pine is also popular to produce residential furniture such as tables, chairs, bookshelves, and wooden pallets.
However, neither Oak, Walnut, Beech, nor Ash is available in Vietnam. Almost all Vietnamese factories rely on imports of these wood species.
Here, Asia Perspective can help factories in Asia to source:
- White Oak (Europe, USA)
- Ash (Europe, USA)
- Beech (Europe)
- Pine (Scots Pine, Taeda Pine, Eliottis Pine)
- Spruce (Sweden)
Tariffs for Wood Imports to Vietnam
Thanks to the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA), the import tariff of wood from Europe to Vietnam is more beneficial than that of the United States.
Vietnam Wood Exhibitions
Participating in exhibitions has numerous advantages, the most significant of which is that it allows companies to bring their images and brands closer to consumers. By joining wood exhibitions, companies will have the opportunity to exchange information, find potential partners and customers, and learn new techniques and technologies. There are some outstanding wood exhibitions in Vietnam:
Being recognized as Vietnam’s largest wood exhibition. VIETNAMWOOD is held every two years and has truly become the most effective networking platform for woodworking entrepreneurs seeking new business opportunities. The 19th exhibition held in October 2022, successfully attracted 11.650 visitors from over 32 countries.
BIFA Wood Vietnam is a large fair for professionals in the wood industry, connecting suppliers with potential customers, diversifying import and export markets, and providing businesses with opportunities to find new markets. The 2022 fair was jointly organized by two of Southeast Asia’s most powerful brands in the timber and woodworking sectors: Binh Duong Furniture Association (BIFA) and Panels & Furniture Group of wood magazines.
VIFA, which began in 2008, aims to be the best place to promote and export Vietnamese furniture, home decoration products, and handicrafts. In 2014, VIFA collaborated with an exhibition organized by Ho Chi Minh City’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and changed its name to VIFA-EXPO. This combination has created favorable conditions for the rapid development of Vietnamese furniture.
Vietnam is the world’s second-largest furniture exporter, and the industry has been active for decades. Having said that, it has taken off in recent years, particularly since Vietnam acceded to the WTO in 2007. Many of its free trade agreements, including the EVFTA with the EU, have been signed since 2007.
As input materials for wood manufacturing, various wood types are in high demand. The most common domestic woods are acacia and rubberwood. Popular furniture made of beech, oak, and pine, on the other hand, would necessitate the importation of wood.
With the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA), the import tariff of wood from Europe to Vietnam is significantly lower than that of the United States.
Joining wood exhibitions is an effective way for furniture manufacturers and wood companies to spread their images and brands closer to the market. Vietnam is a popular destination for the well-known wood exhibition, where corporations can exchange information, find potential partners and customers, and learn new techniques and technologies.