A Vietnamese government official says the country is targeting wood product export earnings of US$1.4-1.6bn in 2005.

The official said the country earned US$712m from timber product exports during the first half, up 45% year-on-year, while the annual export growth rate has averaged about 70% during the past four years.

Wood processing industry capacity currently totals between 2.5-3 million m3 per year from more than 1,200 mills.

Wooden furniture remains a major market, with products being shipped to 120 countries, including America, the EU, Sweden and Canada.

A number of wood processors have expanded production capacity and hired foreign designers to catch up with trends and clients’ tastes worldwide.

But a raw material shortage is forcing the industry to import about 80% of its supplies.