Furniture exporters told to shape up

Furniture exporters must establish new standards and acquire professional certificates in order to successfully tap into the EU and US markets, speakers said at a conference yesterday held in HCM City by the city's Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA).


The HCM City Handicraft and Wood Industry Association showcases products. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai

Huynh Van Hanh, deputy chairman of HAWA, said that many markets, including the EU and the US, had limited their imports by setting trade barriers that create obstacles for Vietnamese exporters.

He said that Vietnamese exporters would have to be even more well-prepared as there would be many more new regulations in the pipeline.

Requirements and standards mentioned in the conference include the chain of custody (COC) certification system provided by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Conference speakers said that Vietnamese furniture exporters should use these standards if they wanted to broaden their markets in Europe and the US.

According to experts, this is a leading global certification system that promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management and products worldwide.

As of now, about 21,000 companies in the world have such certificates, while only 314 companies in Viet Nam have it.

Doan Van Khai, head of management services under TUV-SUC-PSB Viet Nam Company Ltd, said there might be several reasons why Vietnamese companies did not care much about these certificates.

"High costs are one reason. However, the other important thing is that they have not understood much about the certificates. They have not recognised the importance of COC," he said.

Khai said that most export orders in Viet Nam were for companies that had COC certificates. So, other companies that want to expand their exports should get it also, he added.

At the conference, HAWA and its partners said they would help Vietnamese companies learn about the certificate and apply it to their operations.

Also at the conference, a representative of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission discussed the requirements needed to export wood products to the US market.

According to HAWA, exports of handicraft and furniture to the EU and US continues to increase, with turnover jumping 10 times within the decade from 2002 to 2012.

HAWA expects exports to continue to rise if companies meet the standards set by importers.

Source: VNS


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