Overseas customers check out carpentry products on display at an exhibition in HCMC last year – PHOTO: QUOC HUNG

The US market, which accounts for more than half of Vietnam’s total joinery exports, continued to take orders from Vietnamese producers.

American importers are more wary of trade fraud since the United States imposed high taxes on wood products imported from China.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, a retail millwork supplier in the United States, has shifted import orders from China and India to Vietnam since 2019. Tracy Tran, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams representative in Vietnam , said the company had stepped up the number of Vietnamese joinery suppliers to 16 from the previous four due to high taxes imposed on many wood products imported from China and concerns about the quality of some joinery from Vietnam. Indonesia. “Due to its high-quality products, Vietnam supplied around 70 percent of the company’s total joinery import volume,” Tran said.

Nguyen Van Sang, director of Viet Products and owner of the Furnist joinery chain, said the company had received orders for export to the United States until the end of September.

“Over the past three years, the company has partnered with several new US importers, resulting in US woodwork imports accounting for nearly 70% of the company’s total export value compared to the 20 % previous,” Sang said. “These new customers have switched to buying Vietnamese products instead of Chinese-made products.

Scansia Pacific Vice President Nguyen Hoai Bao said the company’s revenue from exports to the United States had increased fivefold from five years ago. Many major customers, including Walmart, have placed orders with the Vietnamese company.

“Vietnamese joinery has become popular for its quality and competitive prices, so after the United States imposed high taxes on wood products imported from China, international joinery buyers shifted their orders from China to the market. Vietnamese,” Bao said.

Great export potential

The United States is the world’s largest consumer of woodwork. Despite supply disruptions and labor issues, the woodworking industry ranked second among the top 15 producing industries with the rapid growth monitored by the American Institute for supply management, reported by woodworkingnetwork.com.

According to the Italian Center for Industrial Studies, the global carpentry market rebounded in 2021, with consumption much higher than before the pandemic. Global woodwork consumption is expected to grow in 2022 and 2023. The United States will remain the world’s largest woodwork importer. Many US retailers and importers are looking for knowledgeable and reliable partners, while Vietnam offers vast potential for foreign investors.

Trade remedy challenges

The Vietnamese carpentry industry faces multiple challenges in terms of exporting items to the United States, as the United States imposes strict requirements for transparency of information and fair trade. Although the two countries have signed agreements on timber origin control, several Vietnamese timber products are still under investigation for unusual activities. This is the biggest challenge for exporting Vietnamese joinery to the selective market.

Some items such as bedroom and kitchen furniture have seen a high rate of consumption in recent months. The United States alone consumes some US$5-7 billion worth of kitchen cabinets per year. Thus, Vietnamese timber companies are increasing their production and export of this item, according to the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association (Viforest).

Exports of cupboards from Vietnam to the United States have surged, posing risks of origin fraud, according to Viforest.

Speaking at a recent conference on carpentry, Nguyen Pham Nhu Ha from the Customs Control and Supervision Department of the General Department of Vietnam Customs said that over the past few months, the department has realized multiple risks potential linked to the acceleration of the import of wood from China and the surge in joinery exports to the United States since 2018.

After the start of the Sino-American trade war, the General Department assessed the risks facing not only carpentry and wood, but also other items; however, wood products have raised concerns. The local market sees two main methods of origin fraud used by Chinese-funded companies. These companies import veneer and plywood from China and then affix them with “Made-in-Vietnam” labels, while the second fraudulent practice is to buy wooden parts from China to assemble them in Vietnam and export the products. of Vietnamese origin, according to Ha.

“Such a sophisticated circumvention trade method took time for customs authorities to investigate and collect evidence,” Ha said.

The representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade also pointed out that an export boom could lead to an investigation and the imposition of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

According to the Vietnam Trade Remedies Authority under the ministry, four wood products, namely plywood, cabinet, wood frame and wood slat sofa and wood tape, which were mainly exported to the United States, were listed among 11 export items facing an investigation for trade remedy circumvention and origin fraud in late 2021. The export of these wood products to the United States has accelerated since 2020, when the country imposed high anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on these products imported from China.

In order to minimize the negative impact of trade remedies, the authority asked Vietnamese exporters to equip themselves with knowledge about trade remedy laws and lawsuit response plans, and to work closely with investigators to detect and deal with cases of origin fraud.

According to Viforest, domestic companies play a key role in preventing origin fraud. They must strictly abide by bilateral trade regulations and not aid and abet scams and frauds that could harm the brand and image of Vietnamese carpentry.

Viforest also suggested to the relevant agencies to carefully examine foreign investments deemed to be very risky. In a context of fierce global commercial competition, it is necessary to frequently assess the risks of unfair and unhealthy competition to avoid commercial fraud.

Source: Saigon Times