EU27+UK imports of wood products from Vietnam, the only VPA implementing country in Asia, which were flat in 2016 and 2017, increased consistently throughout 2018 and the first nine months of 2019, before levelling off in the last quarter of 2019 and first quarter of this year.
12-month rolling total timber product imports into the EU27+UK from Vietnam were US$982 million in the year ending March 2020, unchanged compared to 6 months before, but 5% more than the previous 12-month period.
While EU27+UK imports from Vietnam continue to be dominated by wood furniture (HS 94), there has been growth in imports of a range of other wood products in HS Chapter 44, notably charcoal and other energy wood, plywood, laminated wood, planed sawnwood, and doors (see Chart).
The UK is the leading European market for Vietnamese wood furniture, accounting for around 40% of all EU27+UK imports, and this market continued to grow last year. Imports of wood furniture from Vietnam were also rising into France and the Netherlands.
Around a third of EU furniture imports from Vietnam comprise “Other products not elsewhere stated” (i.e. not seats or bedroom, dining room, office or shop furniture), likely to consist largely of garden furniture manufactured almost exclusively from tropical timber which is not identified separately.
The second largest category of EU import from Vietnam comprises dining room furniture, accounting for around one quarter of total EU imports from the country. This product group is likely to be manufactured from a mix of temperate and tropical plantation species, such as acacia and rubberwood.
The increase in imports of HS 44 wood products from Vietnam is driven by countries other than the UK, notably sawnwood to France, plywood to Germany, laminated wood to Belgium, and fuelwood to Denmark and, more recently, Sweden.