• Thomas Russell

Report: Malaysia rubberwood export ban effective July 1

Move could make raw material more expensive to procure outside Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian government officials are predicting that a ban on rubberwood exports will boost Malaysia’s furniture export business in the next few years by allowing local producers greater access to a native raw material.

According to a report in the New Straits Times, furniture exports could rise to 12 billion ringgit, or $2.8 billion, by 2020, up from about 9.53 billion ringgit, or $2.4 billion, last year.

The prediction was made by Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, at the Muar Furniture Assn.’s 35th annual dinner on July 2.

Malaysia is a major exporter of furniture to the U.S. market. Last year, it shipped $668.7 million in furniture to the U.S., making it the sixth largest exporter that year, according to figures compiled by Furniture Today.

According to the Times, the ban on rubberwood exports is effective July 1. This could give local Malaysia producers greater access to the raw material and possibly make rubberwood more expensive to procure for furniture makers in neighboring China and Vietnam. Both countries purchased some 300 million ringgit, or $75 million, in rubberwood from Malaysia last year, the Times said.

Industry sources have told furniture today that China is consuming significant amounts of rubberwood for both furniture and the building industries. This is creating a potential shortage of supply that could require producers to shift to other woods, such as poplar.

For the full New Straits Times story, click here.


Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, Furniture Today

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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