American red oak campaign launched by AHEC at VIFA furniture show Ho Chi Minh City – March 2018

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Opening with a spectacular cultural show in the presence of Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr Ha Cong Tuan, the annual VIFAin Ho Chi Minh City got off to a flying start and is fast establishing itself as the ‘must visit’ destination in Southeast Asia. The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) thus chose the show to launch its new promotion of American red oak.

Vietnam exported nearly $8 billion of furniture and wood products in 2017 and is expected to achieve $10 billion within two years.  Improved design, technical investment and innovation are the key drivers – with a government firmly behind an industry which is now number six in national exports. In addition furniture has become the number five consumer commodity in domestic consumption. Vietnam is the second largest importer of American hardwood lumber outside North America and is projected to grow strongly.

At the show AHEC featured red oak with its sponsorship of the annual Hoa Mai furniture design competition and a prominent booth at the entrance to the show.  Regional director John Chan officiated at the opening ceremony and several AHEC and NHLA members exhibited independently. By supplying red oak lumber to the Hoa Mai and its display stand lined with red oak, adverts for red oak in the media and meetings to promote the species,AHEC has put the furniture industry on notice that there is a very sustainable high quality material choice for the production of quality furniture.

In terms of trends, white oak is still the dominant high value species in Vietnam, but tulipwood (yellow poplar) has been making increasing gains; with imports into Vietnam up 27% in value last year. Much of the wood furniture at the show was either wholly or partially painted in cream, white or this year’s favourite colour – grey.  Nevertheless oak furniture remains number one.

A number of hardwood exporters and distributors of North American hardwoods participated, including Gutchess International, Thomson Hardwoods, Midwest Hardwoods and Paledau. The next trade show in Vietnam to feature AHEC and NHLA will be the VIFAWoodmac wood machinery and materials exhibition in Binh Duong in late October.

www.americanhardwood.org

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