The Swedish sawmill industry sees big potential to support the fast-growing Vietnamese wood processing industry

PRESS RELEASE The Swedish sawmill industry, gathered under the name Swedish Wood, participated in the Vietnam Wood fair in Ho Chi Minh City, and organized a seminar together with three Vietnamese wood and furniture industry associations. At the event, Swedish Wood presented special features of Swedish wood and its application in modern design and architecture, including the benefits of using Swedish wood as an innovative material to support the Vietnamese wood processing industry.

Vietnam is a fast-growing furniture exporter, with an average annual growth rate of 15% since 2009. Currently, Vietnam ranks as the fifth largest exporter worldwide, the second largest in Asia and the largest in Southeast Asia. Key export destinations are the U.S. (39%), China (15%), Japan (14%) and EU (14%). Exports were estimated at USD 7 billion in 2016 and USD 8 billion this year and are expected to increase to 10 billion by 2020. With rapid growth and increased production of furniture, the demand for high quality sustainable wood materials that follow international regulations on forest management is on the rise. In 2016, Vietnam imported USD 1.7 billion of wood materials to fulfill its production needs.

Mr. Huynh Van Hanh, Vice President of the Vietnamese Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA), and one of the speakers at Swedish Wood’s seminar says: "Vietnam's furniture industry is growing steadily, resulting in increasing demand for materials. Sweden, with its coniferous forest grown and managed according to sustainable criteria, will be a potential source of additional materials for Vietnam. Vietnam’s import value is currently increasing, even though it has not reached its full potential.”

The total Swedish production of sawn and planed timber is 18 million cubic metres, whereof 13 million cubic metres are exported, making Sweden the third largest exporter of sawn and planed wood in the world. Sweden exports sawn timber mainly to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and East Asia.

“15 percent of the Swedish sawn timber is exported to East Asia every year, at a value of 500 million USD, says Charlotte Dedye Apelgren, Director Interior & Design at Swedish Wood. “East Asia is also the region to which timber exports from Sweden are growing the most. Vietnam is still a rather new market for Swedish sawn timber, but the Swedish sawmill industry experiences an increased interest for sawn timber from Sweden from the Vietnamese wood processing industry. And last year, sales of sawn timber from Sweden to Vietnam rose by 86%.

The biggest export markets for the Swedish sawmill industry in East Asia today are Japan and China, markets to which the Swedish sawmill industry has been exporting for many years.

The Swedish Ambassador in Vietnam, Pereric Högberg, keynote speaker at Swedish Wood’s seminar, says: “Sweden ranks as one of the most sustainable nations in the world. We are strongly committed to sustainable forest management in which our priority is not only preserving the quantity of forests, but also respecting the biological diversity of the forests. Sustainable forest management will maintain the balance between economic wood production and respecting wildlife, outdoor recreation, employment and local interests. I am very impressed by Vietnam’s fast-growing wood processing industry, and I think that there is a large potential for Swedish wood suppliers to supply to Vietnamese manufacturers so that high quality and sustainable raw material is used for production.”

The Swedish Ambassador in Vietnam, Pereric Högberg, together with representatives of the Swedish sawmill industry.

About Swedish Wood’s participation in Vietnam Wood
The fair Vietnam Wood took place from the 18th to the 21st of October 2017. The following nine Swedish sawmill companies were represented in Swedish Wood’s booth at the fair: Holmen Timber, Martinsons, Moelven, Norra Timber, Norrskog Wood Products, SCA Timber, Setra Group, Siljan Timber and Södra.

Swedish Wood’s seminar was held on the 19th of October and was conducted in cooperation with three Vietnamese association: the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA), the Binh Duong Furniture Association (BIFA) and the Forest Product Association of Binh Dinh (FPA). The topics for the seminar included inspiration about the usage of Swedish wood in design and architecture, and technical information about the characteristics of the Swedish wood species pine and spruce.

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