KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 – The timber and timber-based industries in Malaysia and Vietnam have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to further develop the timber trades in both countries. The Timber Exporters’ Association of Malaysia (TEAM), the Malaysian Furniture Council (MFC), the Vietnam Timber & Forest Products (ViForest), Binh Duong Wood Processing Association (BIFA),
Dong Nai Wood Processing Association (DOWA), and Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA) signed the MoC at the Icon Saigon – Lifestyle Design Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, today. The MoC signing was facilitated by the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC).
Present at the signing ceremony were the President of TEAM Mr. Chua Song Fong, President of MFC Mr. Khoo Yeow Chong, the Vice-President of ViForest Mr. Huynh Quang Thanh, President of Binh Duong Wood Processing Association (BIFA) Mr. Nguyen Liem, President of Dong Nai Wood Processing Association (DOWA) Mr. Le Xuan Quan and the Vice-President-cum-Secretary General of DOWA Mr. Nguyen Chanh Phuong.
The MoC signing was witnessed by the Chief Executive Officer of the MTC Mr. Muhtar Suhaili. Also present at the ceremony were Consulate General of Malaysia in Ho Chi Minh City, Ms. Wong Chia Chiann, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE)’s Trade Commissioner in Ho Chi Minh Mr. Raphy Md Radzi and representatives of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA).
The MoC will strengthen economic cooperation between Malaysia and Vietnam. Although both Malaysia and Vietnam are producers of timber products, the collaboration will provide opportunities for manufacturers to increase their exports and imports between Malaysian and Vietnam. The MoC is also expected to generate other spin-offs such as socio-economic benefits and employment opportunities.
Malaysia is committed in further developing its timber industry sustainably. Malaysia can benefit from Vietnam’s higher Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in furniture manufacturing and access to the EU markets through Vietnam’s Free Trade Agreements,” said Mr. Muhtar. He added that Vietnam’s skilled manpower and its availability from the local population will be an advantage, on top of its proximity to China which provides easier access for furniture parts and wooden panels.
The MoC is also in line with the ASEAN Summit agreement in 2000 where the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) was launched to narrow the development divide and enhance ASEAN’s competitiveness as a region. The MoC will also protect the interests of both countries against regulations that may affect the interest of Malaysia’s and Vietnam’s timber industries.
Malaysia’s export of timber products to Vietnam in 2021 was USD38.44 million while Malaysia imported USD148.25 million worth of wood-based products from Vietnam. Vietnam’s timber industry has been growing very well over the past decade and we would like to capitalize on this and explore business opportunities,” said Mr. Chua.
We would like to increase our market share in Vietnam and the MoC can deepen investment flows for Malaysia,” said Mr. Khoo, citing supplying furniture parts to Vietnam as a good possibility. Among the top five products that Malaysia exported to Vietnam in 2021 were Particleboard (USD9.35 million), Wooden Furniture (USD7.77 million), Fiberboard (USD5.99 million), Sawntimber (USD5.46 million) and Builders Joinery & Carpentry (USD3.39 million).
The MoC signing was part of MTC’s Market & Business Visit to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh from 13-17 June 2022. There was also a Roundtable Discussion between MTC, MFC, TEAM, ViForest, BIFA and HAWA that explored partnership opportunities and the sharing of market information.