Vietnam joins International Tropical Timber Organization as 69th member; government says entry procedure took nine years, demonstrating country's readiness for international cooperation on tropical forest management, promotion of responsible timber trade

HANOI, Vietnam , June 25, 2014 () – Vietnam has become the 69th member of the International Timber Organisation (ITTO), and its entry is expected to bring more benefits to the country's forest sector.

Nguyen Ba Ngai, Deputy Director General of Administration of Forestry, announced the entry of Vietnam on June 24 at a press conference by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

"By joining the ITTO, Vietnam has shown its progress towards international integration and its readiness for regional and international cooperation on tropical forest management, as well as the promotion of responsible trade of tropical timber and timber products," he said.

Ngai said that the Vietnamese Government had intended to join the organisation in 2005, but it took nine years to fulfil all necessary procedures.

Collins Ahadome, the ITTO's Assistant Director said at the conference that Vietnam joining the ITTO was a historical result as the country had been waiting for too long to be part of the organisation.

He also expressed the ITTO Secretariat's support and his strong commitment to assist Vietnam in the approval for its capacity building projects, to actively participate in the ITTO and strictly implement its member state rights and obligations.

Established in 1986, the ITTO is an intergovernmental organisation under the auspices of the United Nations. Its members represent about 80 percent of the world's tropical forests and 90 percent of the global tropical timber trade.

Nguyen Ton Quyen, General Secretary of the Vietnam Timber and Forestry Products Association, said that the country's forest sector had made significant progress in increasing forest cover and developing material plantations and timber processing for export in recent years.

He said that the timber industry and products have become one of the ten sectors, which have the largest export turnover in Vietnam.

The association's statistics show that the total export turnover of timber products in the first six months of this year was estimated at 3 billion USD, a 14 percent increase over the same period last year. The largest market for the export of Vietnam's timber currently is the US followed by Europe.

In 2013, Vietnam's timber export turnover was 5.5 billion USD, and accounted for 4 percent of the global market. It also made Vietnam the second largest timber exporter in Asia.

(c) 2014 Viet Nam News, Vietnam News Agency

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