Furniture exporters must use legal timberTags: vietnam united states enforcement legislation import legislation government
Vietnamese furniture exporters, who are struggling to source legally logged timber, learnt about some common international laws on the issue at a seminar yesterday.
The half-day event, jointly organised by the HCM City Handicrafts and Wood Industry Association (Hawa) and Swiss-based certifier SGS group, addressed furniture exporters' concerns about the legality and traceability of timber, which have increasingly been demanded by European and American clients.
Huynh Van Hanh, Hawa vice president, said timber quality should not only be assessed by the product itself but also by the connected ecological terms.
The US has recently passed the Agricultural Act governing violations in the use of timber and plants.
The act will impose civil and criminal penalties on illegal timber, which, Hanh said, is expected to affect the furniture and other wood-based industries, not only in the US but also other western nations.
He urged local businesses to pay more attention to the origin of their timber, select accredited suppliers and demand certificates to show it was legally logged and environmentally friendly.
"Evaluating the legality and origin of timber is to generate confidence among customers and boost the image of Vietnamese furniture on the global market," Hanh said.
Bruce Telfer, manager of SGS's Forestry Monitoring Programme in the Asia-Pacific region, agreed saying it was important to evaluate the timber's legality given illegal logging had become a focus of attention in major markets like the US, Japan and the EU.
Illegal timber poses a risk to the country's furniture industry that brought in some US$2.4 billion in export revenue last year and is expected to jump to $5.5 billion by 2010.
Telfer requested local authorities to provide support to evaluate the timber's legality and trace back the existing timber supply network to forests.
Â© VietNamNet Bridge (Vietnam) -- 2008-06-19
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