LAST_UPDATEWed, 21 Mar 2018 8am

Malaysia Aims To Match Or Exceed 2014 Timber Exports

Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah EmbasMinister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas

KUALA LUMPU -- The government targets this year's timber exports to equal or exceed last year's exports worth RM20 billion, says Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas.

The 2014 exports accounted for close to three per cent of the country's total merchandise exports, he told reporters at the 51st Session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) meeting here today.

He said the upbeat timber forecast is in line with the country's furniture industry which is on the uptrend, adding foreign exchange rates play a part in making our timber products cheaper.

On preservation, he said the government provided about US$30 million for the Heart of Borneo project, a voluntary transboundary cooperation among Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, between 2010 and 2015.

He said the project is among initiatives by the Malaysian government to provide important ecological corridors, forming contiguous forested habitats that connect fragmented forests.

"The government will continue to support the project, as it is committed to having at least 50 per cent of land area under forest and tree cover," Uggah said.

Today, more than 54.6 per cent or 18.01 million hectares of the country's land area is still covered by natural forests, with about 14.5 million hectares designated as permanent reserve forests or permanent forest estates, Uggah said.

At the meeting, hosted by the Ministry and International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), Germany and Brazil are vying to secure an Executive Director spot through voting.

"Malaysia is optimistic that the selection of the new Executive Director will be resolved through an amicable approach," Uggah added.

ITTO is represented by 72 countries and accounts for 80 per cent of the world's tropical forests and 90 per cent of the global tropical timber trade.