On September 28th, 2018 Forest Trends signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association (VIFORES), the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA), the Forest Products Association of Binh Dinh, the Binh Duong Furniture Association (BIFA), and the Vietnam Rubber Association. Members of these four associations contribute to 70-80% of the country’s annual total export revenue derived from timber products.
Under the new MOU, signatories agree to share market information on Vietnam’s imports and exports of timber and rubber products, and on legality requirements from international markets where these products, including rubberwood, are consumed. Parties also agree to share information on implementation of Vietnamese government forest and trade policies related to use and management of forest resources, and to collaborate on future research on timber and rubber industries.
“This data will improve understanding of the import/export dynamics of timber and timber products, including the identification of high risk products imported into Vietnam and exported to regulated markets,” says Phuc Xuan To, Senior Policy Analyst at Forest Trends. “This serves as an important input for policymaking. In addition, the MOU itself puts us in a better position to inform new legislative developments.”
An existing MOU signed in 2017 with VIFORES, HAWA, FPA Binh Dinh, and the Vietnam Rubber Association, supports monthly analyses of timber production, processing, trade and markets. Insights from these analyses provide transparent market information, feed into national policy-making processes, and improve enforcement of relevant laws and regulations in Vietnam and elsewhere in the Mekong region. These insights are widely distributed within the timber and rubber industry as an important source of information about potential opportunities and risks associated with sourcing timber and rubber products, as these sectors become more deeply integrated into global markets.
“Our members contribute 40% of Vietnam’s total export revenues from timber products,” added Dien Quang Hiep, Chairman of BIFA. “Now that we have joined the other three timber associations under this MOU, our joint research can help state and non-state actors become better informed.”