On June 17, the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST), in collaboration with the Vietnam Timber & Forest Products Association (VIFORES) and the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA), organized the workshop "Promote trade practices for sustainable forest products and launch the HAWA DDS wood transparency and due diligence platform".
In the opening speech, Deputy Director-General of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry Bui Chinh Nghia said that the export value of forest products is a bright spot in the whole country's export. It plays an essential contribution in the country's economic growth and development.
According to Mr. Nghia, the average annual growth of forest product exports reaches over 16%. In particular, in 2021, despite being affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, the export value of wood and forest products still grew at a high rate, over 20% compared to 2020, reaching US$ 15.96 billion, over the plan by more than 10 %.
Although the wood industry has achieved many achievements, Deputy Director-General Bui Chinh Nghia noted some challenges for agriculture in the coming time.
Specifically: The US continues to investigate trade lawsuits; protectionism of wood importing countries tends to increase; the production supply chain was broken due to the influence of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the world's Covid-19 epidemic is still complicated. Significantly, the main export markets of Vietnam's wood, such as the EU, the US, Japan, Korea, and China, increasingly require strict implementation of the control of legal timber origin.
"To ensure the elimination of illegal timber from the production supply chain, the activity of tracing and proving the origin of timber currently consumes a lot of resources of society, businesses, and the state and is complicated to implement successfully by manual method", Mr. Nghia said.
To achieve the export target of US$ 17 billion in 2022 and US$ 20 billion in 2025, the Vietnam Administration of Forestry's leader emphasized that they will support and encourage organizations and individuals to develop a system of traceability and due diligence to verify the origin of wood, deploy the application in practice.
In 2022, the forestry sector strives to have a certified forest area of 90,000 hectares. Therefore, Deputy Director-General Bui Chinh Nghia said that the application of information technology supports and solves supply chain problems, bringing the source of legal planted forest timber to manufacturing and exporting enterprises, creating a competitive advantage for Vietnam.
This workshop aims to update the implementation progress of the Vietnam Timber Legality Assurance System; review the initiative to develop the timber transparency and due diligence platform built by HAWA, thereby discussing and finding out solutions to apply the system to trace and prove the origin of wood in the process of implementing the legal timber assurance system in Vietnam", Mr. Nghia expressed.
Agreeing with Deputy Director-General Nghia, Mr. Nguyen Chanh Phuong, Vice Chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA), said that implementing regulations on sustainable forest regulations product development is a vital requirement, not only the wood processing industry in Vietnam but also the whole world.
"In the spirit and goal of digital transformation of the wood processing industry, HAWA accompanies the Government and businesses, accelerating the digitization of the implementation of the VPA/FLEGT Agreement, VNTLAS. That is the basis for building the HAWA DDS foundation", Mr. Phuong said.
According to Mr. Phuong, HAWA DDS is the necessary preparation to bring domestic wood products to the international market, especially the EU. Just by accessing the HAWA DDS platform, users, from forest owners to operators, commercial enterprises, manufacturers, and buyers, can find information, manage and prove the origin of raw materials' data clearly without depending on the paper system stored procedures, and manual review.
The HAWA DDS Platform's data will output a Certificate of Origin of locally harvested timber, with full details of the history, quantity, and location of exploitation... in the form of a QR Code. Buyers only need to scan the code to check and then verify the origin of wood in materials and products.
The HAWA DDS is an IT platform supporting transparency and due diligence for each seller-buyer transaction involving HAWA DDS members. The current system focuses on domestic timber sources and suppliers, but HAWA is working on the inclusion of imported timber. The system design is based on international best practices, guided by a number of principles, standards, and procedures and managed by a team of dedicated HAWA DDS staff.
It is expected that the HAWA DDS Platform will be a critical premise on which HAWA can collaborate with other domestic and international wood associations to successfully promote the trade timber products made in Viet Nam.
Translated by Ha Phuc
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