Nguyen Chanh Phuong, general secretary of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City, revealed Vietnam earns between US$650 million and US$700 million from exporting timber and wood products to the EU annually, with Germany, France, the UK, Spain and Italy being the largest consumers.
The figure remains modest in comparison with between US$80 billion and US$85 billion the EU spends every year on wood imports globally, according to the executive.
There remains plenty of room for the local timber industry to increase exports to the EU market as 83% of tariff lines on Vietnamese timber and wood products to the EU are immediately eliminated once the EVFTA takes effect on August 1.
In line with the roadmap for the next three to seven years, the remaining 17% of the tariff lines for timber will be removed.
As a result, the domestic timber industry is expected to enjoy a range of benefits brought about by a substantial reduction of import duties on raw materials and machinery from the EU, Phuong said.
Local enterprises have therefore been advised to fully implement Vietnam - EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement regulations in a bid to ensure the origin traceability and verification of legal timber exploitation in line with EU requirements set out to combat trade fraud.
Vietnamese firms have been urged to improve overall product quality and production procedures, as well as the ability to supply stable sources of goods to partners in an effort to boost the competitiveness of local wood products within the international market.