Chile looks to bulk up wood-product exports to China

Updated: 2015-04-06 03:36

By Li Wenfang(China Daily)

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Chile looks to bulk up wood-product exports to China

Chilean wood traders promoted their products at the China International Furniture Machinery & Furniture Raw Materials Fair on March 28 in Guangzhou. [LI WENFANG / CHINA DAILY]

Chilean wood exporters said at a trade fair in Guangzhou they expect to increase their presence in the Chinese market.

Madimex Maderas, which offers timber and other by-products, holds a small presence in China but is looking to expand, said Andrew Youlton, who was representing the company at the China International Furniture Machinery & Furniture Raw Materials Fair held between March 28 and early April in Guangzhou.

Madimex, which launched sales of its products in China in 2013, expects to double its exports to $2 million this year over the previous year.

"We are starting to know the market and know more and more every year," Youlton said. "China is still the biggest growing economy in the world despite things might be a little bit slower now. In the long term, China will remain the motor of the world economy. That's my personal view and that's why this is the market where we need a much bigger presence."

Reperf, which produces environment-friendly moldings, coatings and materials for the furniture and construction sectors, with German technological know-how, believes a significant sub-divided market exists in China, said Ruben Rojas Isla, general manager of the company.

Joaquin Perea Munoz, general manager of Monte Alto Manufacturas S. A., a hardwood lumber company, said he is looking for agents to open the Chinese market, which presents huge potential.

Ochoco Lumber Chile S. A., which specializes in radiata pine products, started exporting to China in 2003 and is seeing a decline in the demand and price in the Chinese market due to softening property sector, amid a decrease in global demand, said Alex Li, a marketing manager of the company.

The Chinese market stands as very important and the company intends to introduce more high-end products to the market to secure better profitability, he said.

Rich Wood International, a Chinese company engaged in wood trading and photo frame manufacturing, started importing Chilean radiata pine products two years ago, said Luo Ming, a representative of the company.

Chilean products are price-competitive and offer shorter shipping time compared with European products, he said.

"To us, it is better to have more channels for foreign products," he said, adding he believes the share of Chilean products in the Chinese market will expand with boosted promotion efforts.

Last year Chile exported $257.5 million worth of wood products to China, its fourth largest forest product market, up 27 percent year-on-year, according to ProChile, a governmental foreign trade promotion agency. Its global exports of wood products, excluding paper pulp, stood at $3.069 billion, up 7 percent, last year.

ProChile has been organizing Chilean wood companies for the furniture fair in Guangzhou since 2012, said Hernan Jaramillo, a consul of Consulate General of Chile in Guangzhou.

Chile has 17.3 million hectares, or 22.9 percent of its land, covered by forest. Natural forests cover 14.2 million hectares and planted forests, including the radiata pine and eucalyptus species, occupy 2.9 million hectares.

Its annual wood harvest stands at 40 million cubic meters, 98 percent of which comes from forestations and reforestation.

Chile has made efforts to establish a cost-effective timber-forest industry, and reinforced its position as a leader in sustainable forest management, Jaramillo said.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the free trade agreement between China and Chile, with wood exports from Chile to China becoming tariff –free.

Since 2006, the two countries have gradually phased in zero duty treatment that covers 97 percent of their products.

Wang Zijia contributed to this story