Vietnam's export value of wood and wooden products reached US$2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2020, representing a year-on-year increase of over 16 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The industry is forecast to be seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is spreading around the world and having a severe impact on the global economy.
A survey on the impacts of the disease across 124 wood processing enterprises found that the sector’s export turnover and growth are likely to drop sharply in the near future.
Up to 76 percent of enterprises said that the sector is likely to suffer total initial losses of VND3 trillion (US$127.2 million), while the remaining said they have not yet determined the level of loss.
Only 7 percent of the respondents said they are maintaining operations as normal. Meanwhile, 51 percent reported that they had scaled down production, and 35 percent said they will have to suspend operations in the near future.
According to the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (VTFPA), since March, 80 percent of exporters to the US and EU markets have received cancellations or delays. Orders from Japan, the Republic of Korea and China have also dropped by 60-80 percent.
Do Xuan Lap, chairman of the VTFPA, said the wood processing industry, one of the country's three main export industries, is facing the reality that most enterprises will have to stop production this month and lay off workers unless they receive support from the Government.
In order to minimise losses, the VTFPA has asked the Government to include the wood processing industry on the list of sectors it says can extend tax payments and land rents.
The VTFPA also said the Government should consider value added tax refunds for eligible exporters, and the exemption of export taxes.