Seminar seeks to boost furniture exports to UK

20/4/2022| 15:56

Vietnamese businesses have been advised to grasp the market trends and tastes of British consumers to fully tap into the market, with furniture sales of up to £15 – 20 billion each year, said experts on April 19 at a virtual seminar to seek ways to boost furniture exports to the UK.

Experts share their views at the event (Photo: VNA)

 Addressing the gathering, Vu Ba Phu, director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade), emphasised that despite disruptions in the global supply chain, coupled with high transportation costs due to COVID-19, local wooden furniture exports maintained impressive growth rate last year, bringing in over US$14.8 billion, up 19.7% compared to 2020.

Duong Thi Minh Tue, member of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA) Standing Committee, described the UK as an important market, ranking fourth among the top five export markets for Vietnamese wooden furniture, behind only the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

Most notably, the export turnover of timber and wood products to the UK last year enjoyed a surge of 16.4% compared to 2020 to reach roughly US$267 million.

The seminar provided UK experts with a platform to answer queries put forward by Vietnamese enterprises regarding requirements, standards, and certificates for imported furniture products in the UK, as well as opportunities to introduce their products at furniture fairs such as the January Furniture Show in the demanding market.

Erica Colson, global marketing director of British Standards Institute (BSI), recommended that Vietnamese exporters gain greater insights into the UK’s regulations for imported furniture products, especially the standards relating to safety and fire resistance as a means of further penetrating the UK market.

Vietnamese businesses are duly required to meet labelling standards such as the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) or Conformity Assessment (CE) marking set by the EU to win the trust of British consumers, she stressed.

Kevin Pham, general secretary of the Vietnam Business Association in the UK (VBUK) and director of K&P Global, pointed out that with the UK's withdrawal from the EU following Brexit, along with disruption in the global supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, British businesses are seeking new suppliers.

Local furniture enterprises should strive to take full advantage of this in order to promote exports to the UK and European market in the future, he said.

Paul Farley, editor-in-chief of The Furniture News, the leading furniture magazine in the UK, underlined the necessity of co-operating alongside local market experts, maintaining good prices and product quality, conducting marketing activities for products, as well as ensuring businesses’ prestige as they export to the UK in a sustainable manner.

The seminar also saw experts advise business to pay greater attention to three factors, including customers, payment capability, and after-sales services to ensure business efficiency in the UK.

They recommended that local firms register booths on specialised platforms in the UK such as Wayfair and Retailsystem, actively participate in large fairs and exhibitions to seek additional customers, whilst maximising the benefits of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKFTA) to accelerate exports to the stringent market.