Friday, March 22

Malaysian timber exports expected to rise five per cent this year, from RM20.03 bln last year

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KUALA LUMPUR: The export of Malaysian timber and timber-based products is expected to rise five per cent this year from RM20.03 billion last year, said Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Hamzah Zainudin.

He said for the first two months this year, exports of timber and timber-based products hit RM3.2 billion, a 5.3 per cent increase compared with the corresponding period last year.

“Japan, United States and India remain our core export destinations,” he told reporters after officiating the 43rd Annual Meeting of the International Research Group on Wood Protection, here yesterday.

Hamzah said the timber industry is also on the right track to achieve the objective of the National Timber Industry Policy (Natip), which to get the industry to generate export earnings of RM52 billion by 2020.

“In addition, Natip also emphasises on the exports of value-added products to increase to 60 per cent from 42 per cent currently.

“As such, it is pertinent that the wood based industry enhance its competitiveness and undertake concerted measures to ensure its continuous development.” Hamzah said the ministry was also intensifying its efforts to promote and educate industry experts abroad on the standard and certification of Malaysia’s timber.

“We are now working very hard to prove that Malaysian timber follows the international laws and standard.

“I went to Italy recently together with a government delegation, to meet and discuss with one of the leading universities there to look at the architecture, design and engineering of the local timber industry.” Hamzah also said the Malaysian furniture business segment needed to be more creative in order not to be left out from the booming industry.

Local furniture makers should innovate their products to be competitive both in design and cost terms. — Bernama