KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities is confident that the furniture industry will continue to strengthen its efforts towards achieving the 2020 national target of RM53 billion in export earnings for the timber sector.
Its Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said through the combined efforts of the government and private sector, the goal is achievable.
"Towards this end, I urge the furniture industry to expand and remain competitive in delivering at least RM16 billion of furniture exports by 2020," he added.
The Minister said this when delivering his keynote address at the opening of the Malaysian International Furniture Fair 2013 here yesterday.
He said his ministry will continue to facilitate development of the furniture industry through regular dialogue with it on issues that require action by the government.
"I would also like to encourage the industry to invest in research and development activities that can contribute towards the production of innovative timber products that encompass design and meet market requirements," he added.
Dompok also reminded furniture manufacturers to consider legislative requirements in some major timber product-importing countries.
He added that these include the Lacey Act in the US, the European Union Timber Regulation and the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012.
"Thus, it is important that manufacturers keep abreast of these legislative requirements in the export of timber products," he said.
He explained that the furniture sector is the most dynamic within the timber industry for Malaysia, and also one of the country's major contributors to export earnings.
"Last year, Malaysian furniture was exported to 199 countries worldwide and valued at RM8 billion, an increase of 4.3 per cent compared to 2011," he added.
He said another significant development last year was the growth of furniture exports to Asean countries.
"Exports to Vietnam last year recorded the highest growth rate at 86.8 per cent, Indonesia 30.2 per cent, Brunei 18.6 per cent, Thailand 16.2 per cent and the Philippines at 14.4 per cent," added.
Dompok said the encouraging performance reflected the competitiveness of furniture produced in Malaysia. Bernama