Vietnam’s Wood Industry Impacted by the Russia-Ukraine War

Vietnam has limited trade interaction, import or export, with either Russia or Ukraine. In 2021, Vietnam imports from Russia were valued at $55 million (USD), or about 2% of the total wood materials imported by the country. During the same time period, Vietnam exports to Russia were $7.3 million and to Ukraine even of a lesser value.

Wood products—both lumber and veneers—have originated in Russia, been processed in China, and then sold to Vietnam. On an average, each year Vietnam imports over 70,000 cubic meters of sawn timber and nearly 200,000 cubic meters of veneer from China, including birch, yellow maple, oak, and pine—all originating from Russia. In 2021, veneer from birch wood imported into Vietnam reached more than 120,000 cubic meters, accounting for 89% of the total amount of veneer imported into Vietnam in that year.

Vietnam’s wood industry depends heavily on input materials from China and Russia so much that there have been warnings about dire consequences. According to Mr. Do Xuan Lap, Chairman of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Products Association, China is currently one of the three most important markets for Vietnam’s wood industry, along with the US and EU, in terms of both supply and demand. On an average each year, the bilateral trade turnover of Vietnam and China in wood products reaches about $2 billion, with the trade balance in favor of Vietnam.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has the potential of shrinking the supply of wood materials from Russia, creating a shortage of wood materials on a global scale in the future. In the short term, part of this shortfall can be offset by an increase in existing supplies from the EU and the US, which have similar timber species as Russia.

The wood industry trade between Vietnam and Russia is tilted towards importing wood materials from China, with lumber and veneer products being made from Russian logs. If the Russia-Ukraine conflict lasts longer, the wood supply from Russia, with an annual supply of nearly 40 million tons of raw materials, will be lost. There is a shortage in the supply of raw wood while the consumer demand for wood products continues to increase, pushing up the price of raw wood materials, creating fierce competition for all raw materials.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.