During the recent decade, wood-chip exports reached a growth rate 10 times the initial figure. In 2001, the country exported only 400,000 tons of wood-chips. In 2011, however, the figure escalated by 5 million tons. Export volume in 2011 was about 36 per cent higher than that in 2010.
With this result, Vietnam replaced Australia to become the biggest wood chip exporter in the world.
Experts attributed the growth to the expansion of paper pulp plants in China.
Many Vietnamese had produced wood-chips to export to China through ports in the central region such as Ky Ha, Dung Quat and Chan May, experts said.
A farmer from Dac Lac said that while selling wood would bring higher profits, they had to sell wood-chips due to capital shortages.
Such mass exports, experts affirmed, would strongly affect domestic paper and wood-processing industries because the price of wood-chips was about four times cheaper than wood.
Wood-chips are raw material used in producing paper. It would bring higher benefits when used to produce paper and pulp, explained Chairman of the Vietnam Paper and Paper Pulp Association Vu Ngoc Bao.
Vietnamese paper plants were importing paper pulp at a price about 9-10 times higher than the price of exported wood-chips.
One ton of wood-chips exported to China and Japan earned only US$110 while it was $1,000 for one ton of pulp, Bao said.
Meanwhile, domestic companies had recently needed wood-chips to produce paper, industrial wood floorboards and wood veneer. This pushed the price of wood-chips up on the domestic market, he said.
To limit exports, some companies have proposed the increase of export taxes from 5 to 20 per cent. This proposal received support from the association.
Some other companies, however, do not agree.
They said that the sudden limit would strongly affect companies and farmers that produce and export wood-chips.
It could even lead to environmental pollution, they said.
These companies added high tax was not suitable. Thanks to wood-chips, farmers and companies could protect forests.
However, they all agree that the industry needs to build as well as boost the productivity of domestic paper and pulp plants to consume domestic wood-chips.