Tennessee Strengthens International Partnerships to Advance Forest Products Industry

Wednesday, August 09, 2023 | 10:12am
Tennessee Forest Products Outbound Trade Mission to Vietnam

NASHVILLE – Relationships within Tennessee’s wood products industry and international partners got a boost during a recent outbound trade mission to Vietnam.

Consultants with TDA’s Business Development and Forestry Divisions travelled to Vietnam to promote exports of Tennessee hardwoods, establish connections with Vietnamese trade associations and manufacturers, and broaden the awareness of our state’s forest products available for international export. They were joined by agricultural trade expert Dr. Andrew Muhammad from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and Workforce Development Coordinator Larry Pitts of the Tennessee Forestry Association.

“This outbound trade mission is a key step toward strengthening our relationships internationally,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “TDA is moving ahead with our strategic focus on trade markets and with gaining insight on growing Vietnamese markets. By all measures, the visit to Vietnam was a success for Tennessee forestry producers and for the state’s economic outlook.”

During the 4-day mission, the group met with representatives from with the Ho Chi Minh City and the Binh Duong Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City, the Binh Duong Furniture Association, and several Vietnamese forest products importers. They also toured wood products manufacturers and lumber businesses with log import yards, sawmills and dry kiln facilities, and indoor and outdoor showrooms.

“Trade missions give us a firsthand look at international operations, markets, and consumers,” Assistant Commissioner for Business Development Andy Holt said. “Our visit gave us a clearer understanding of what the Vietnamese wood products industry is looking for. Similarly, we had a chance to convey the quality and various uses of Tennessee hardwoods.” Hardwood lumber is one of the largest export commodities in Tennessee. The state ranks 3rd in the nation for hardwood lumber production.

“Diverse, competitive, and sustainable forest markets are vital to encouraging landowners to actively manage their woods,” State Forester David Arnold said. “Tennessee has plenty of wood to supply export markets, and there is ample opportunity for mills to get involved.”

The recent trade mission was part of TDA’s initiatives that support agricultural and forest products producers and supply chains. The travel to Vietnam was part of the state’s ongoing efforts to promote international exports of Tennessee products. In 2019, TDA completed an outbound trade mission to Vietnam and have plans to host Vietnamese agriculture officials later this year.

PHOTO at the My Duc Wood Company in Vietnam:
Tim Phelps – Communications and Outreach Leader, TDA Forestry Division
Dr. Andrew Muhammad – Agricultural Trade Economist Professor, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
Andy Holt – Assistant Commissioner, TDA Business Development Division
Le Thi Bich Canh – Founder and CEO, My Duc Wood Company, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
David Neumann – Forestry Consultant, TDA Business Development Division
Larry Pitts – Workforce Development Coordinator, Tennessee Forestry Association