The senior government leader made the requirement while chairing a national conference on boosting timber processing and forestry product export, held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 8.
According to the PM, agriculture contributes nearly 16% to the GDP, of which exports of wood and wooden products accounts for 21% of the total agricultural exports, reaching nearly US$8 billion last year.
The average growth rate of the timber industry over the past 18 years is 15% per year, five times higher than the growth rate of the agricultural sector. In particular, Vietnam has over 4,500 businesses with more than 350,000 employees in the industry, generating an average of over US$23,000 per labourer. It is forecast that, in 2019 and the following years, the industry will continue to grow rapidly.
However, PM Phuc also pointed out a number of shortcomings in the development of the wood industry, as ensuring the quality and legitimacy of raw materials remains limited, along with scattered production, weak plantation and processing technology, and limited corporate governance.
Especially, the building of a national brand still faces difficulties. There are not many Vietnamese brands of timber and forest products capable of competing in the regional or global markets.
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C) visits a furniture exhibition within the framework of the national conference on boosting timber processing and forestry product export, Ho Chi Minh City, August 8, 2018. (Photo: VGP)
Emphasising the inadequacy of law enforcement on forest products, the senior leader reaffirmed the policy of resolutely closing natural forests and not chopping down forests for industrial tree cultivation.
The development objective in the future is to develop sustainably, efficiently and modernly with deep integration into the international and regional markets, using legal materials, applying advanced technologies and developing supporting industry and logistics services, PM Phuc affirmed.
He stated that specific targets for the sector to earn US$9 billion in exports this year, while the figure for next year would be US$10-11 billion, US$12-13 billion for 2020 and US$18-20 billion by 2025.
To realise the ambitious goals, PM Phuc suggested that the ministries, sectors, localities and enterprises concerned focus on the effective implementation of the 2017 Law on Forestry, while considering forestry and specific technical economic sector in links with the value chain of forest products.
The relevant authorities, especially the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, should review and finalise the related legal documents, as well as boosting administrative reforms, to create a better investment environment for the wood processing and forestry industries.
The PM asked to improve the market development for both domestic and foreign markets. Studying the development of the global real estate industry and free trade agreements is a good opportunity for the Vietnamese timber industry to enter the world market, he added.
Another focus should be the communications work to persuade people and enterprises to change their awareness related to the use of lawful timber, as well as changing the habit of using natural timber to planted wood and resolutely not using illegal timber.
The leader also praised the role of the business community, saying that businesses should respect international law, use legal materials, study international markets and prevent possible disputes.