The growth of Myanmar’s timber-processing industry will rely more on timbers imported from abroad than those produced domestically, industry insiders say.
Despite heaving logging inside Myanmar, raw timber from outside of the country will ensure more profit for the timber-processing plants, which have increasingly received foreign investment, said U Bar Bar Cho from the Myanmar Timber Merchants Association.
“Timber-processing pla- nts are not allowed to setup near forest areas. So if you compare the quality of local raw timber and the transportation costs, it is more profitable to use teak and other hardwoods from abroad.
“In the future, the industry will rely more and more on timber imports. We have asked the government to issue the required documents for timber imports in the near future,” he told Myanmar Business Today.
After the export of timber logs were banned at the start of the current fiscal year, the export of processed timber products has increased. However, links to major markets remain weak even though Indian investors are planning to construct two timber-processing factories and the government is negotiating with the European Union for approval to freely export timber products.
Weak access to markets and poor quality overshadows the progress made in the industry and will remain a hindrance for the foreseeable future, local wood processing industry insiders say.
Processed timber is used in making of locally produced furniture; however, the design and quality of timber-based products in Myanmar are of poor quality, while processed teak and its accessories also remain sub par to meet demand.
If the country can increase its quality and export prospects, it will support the goals of the National Export Strategy, given that timber products are expected to be a major export for the Myanmar.