Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business
KUALA LUMPUR– Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong has expressed confidence that Malaysia’s furniture exports would grow five per cent this year.
He said this optimism was based on the Netherlands’ recognition of the country’s timber certification programme, which was known as the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme, last month.
The recognition provides a status and paves the way for local furniture products to enter other countries, he said, adding that the Dutch government was very strict on recognition of certificates.
“Following the approval of our timber certificate, it gives us a status to enter other countries,” he told reporters after officiating the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) 2017 here, today.
Mah said Malaysian furniture was renowned for its brand, quality and pricing.
He is optimistic that efforts to bolster Malaysia’s furniture exports would pay off, enabling the country to be among world’s top five largest furniture exporters in five years’ time from the eight position.
“We have entered the Middle Eastern countries, and Iran has shown interest in our furniture too,” he said, adding that furniture designed by young Malaysian designers would also help take Malaysia’s exports to a higher level.
Commenting on the US market, Mah said despite the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being in limbo, the exports to the US remained firm.
However, he said the government would still focus on ASEAN countries which have a combined population of 600 million.
Earlier in his speech, Mah said exports of Malaysian furniture products rose to RM9.53 billion in 2016, up 4.2 per cent from RM9.14 billion in 2015.
“Wooden furniture accounted for 80 per cent of that amount,” he said, adding that to date, the “Made in Malaysia” furniture was exported to over 160 countries.
“Malaysia has a strong market presence in the US, Japan and Australia.
“We are also experiencing substantial growth in the UK, China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia,” he said.
On the MIFF partnership with China’s Alibaba.com portal to implement an online-to-offline business, Mah hopes local furniture industry players would take advantage and utilise the medium to market their products.