Lao wood processors will be better equipped to find new markets after attending a two-day workshop titled “Building Sustainable Sourcing and New Markets for Wood Products”.
The workshop took place in Vientiane and was organised by the International Trade Centre, through the ARISE Plus Lao PDR project funded by the European Union (EU), in close collaboration with the Department of Trade Promotion, Department of Forestry, and the National University of Laos.
Through extensive collaboration and capacities, the vibrant wood processing industry in Laos has great potential to generate revenue in rural locations and increase diversification of the local economy.
The workshop aimed to equip wood processing companies with essential knowledge and skills concerning new export regulations and market requirements.
As a result, Lao wood exporters will be better able to leverage the increasing opportunities in the regional and global markets, particularly within the EU, while meeting quality requirements and enabling sustainable sourcing.
Laos is gifted with natural resources and significant planted forest assets, which provides abundant opportunities for the Lao wood processing sector. However, at present most of the processed wood products exported by Laos are low value-added products.
According to a press release from ARISE Plus Laos, the industry continues to face a competitive environment due to the large number of major established manufacturing companies in the region.
The Lao government, together with development partners, has been working to introduce regulatory measures to increase value in the wood processing industry.
In parallel, Laos has embarked on the negotiation of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) for a sustainable timber trade agreement with the EU.
Speaking at the workshop, Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Laos, Ms Ina Marčiulionytė, said “The key tenets of the mandate of newly elected Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh resonate well with our own priorities for 2021-2027. One can single out the Green Growth Strategy, with the accent on forestry, which reverberates with our ongoing FLEGT VPA negotiations, and the priority given to job creation for young people. Against this backdrop, the role of the private sector and traders will be instrumental.”
The workshop taught participants about the different requirements with regards to the export of processed wood to the European Union.
Participants also learnt helpful strategies for accessing the EU timber market, such as ways to approach the market, the channels involved, how to find partners, and setting reasonable prices.
Company representatives also heard about success stories, for instance from Burapha company about how they manage the export process.
The workshop was attended by several key players in the Lao wood-processing sector and development partners, including the Lao Furniture Association, Lao Wood Processing Association, Lao-Rubber association, Lao government counterparts, the EU Delegation and development partners.
Source: Vientiane Times, 13/04/2021