Early Takeaways from VietnamWood 2023
VietnamWood, a four-day event in Ho Chi Minh City that showcases both machinery and wood products, attracts a global presence of wood suppliers, and it seemed nearly every species of wood in the world had a presence at the show – including Southern Yellow Pine and other American Softwoods.
As the largest networking event in Vietnam for the wood product industry, VietnamWood brings together specialists looking to manufacture wood products and understand new technologies related to the furniture manufacturing industry. Professionals in that field had no issues finding what they needed, as there was a cornucopia of wood species available to choose from.
A joint promotional effort organized by the American Softwoods China Office included a large exhibit space featuring images that highlighted key qualities of American softwood lumber. An equal number of participating members from the Softwood Export Council (SEC) and the Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) were on hand to answer wood product questions.
“VietnamWood was the first opportunity for me to travel to Southeast Asia since the COVID 19 pandemic,” said Eric Gee, SFPA’s executive director. “It was a pleasure spending time with our member companies, industry colleagues, and our USDA marketing specialist – Nina Pham.”
The VietnamWood 2023 Experience
Meeting with the furniture manufacturing industry and discovering opportunities for increased exports of American softwood lumber was a priority for attendees, which included six SFPA member companies looking to expand Southern Yellow Pine business in the region.
“When looking at the larger picture, SFPA’s goal in Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia – particularly the Philippines – has been to develop alternative markets in light of lost sales to China due to the trade war,” said Jerry Hingle, an international consultant with the SFPA.
While the show reportedly was slower than in previous years, attendees showed interest in American softwoods.
There was an average of 20 qualified visitors per day during the first three days of the show, with the second day having a greater proportion of lumber product interest.
While not a primary focus for SFPA, there was a moderate interest in SYP log imports as the local industry searches for alternative solutions to lower raw material input costs.
Conversations with local USDA government officials revealed how important the export economy is to Vietnam. However, recent downturns in global discretionary retail spending have resulted in a cooling off of furniture exports.
“The work American Softwoods is completing in the region is an invaluable investment in both current and future business for American Softwood lumber product export markets,” Gee said.
Vietnam Wood: By the Numbers
Nearly $2.6 million of softwood lumber entered the Vietnam market (rough, dressed, treated) in 2022. About 70 percent of that was Southern Yellow Pine Lumber.
Raw material or log resource imports topped 243 M3, with Southern Yellow Pine logs accounting for nearly 93 percent of the volume.
Stay tuned for the full trip report in the coming weeks. SFPA members, we’ll include the detailed trip report with contacts in an upcoming issue of Lumber Shorts-Members Only.
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