Accounting for 3% of the world market share.

     Vietnam has over 1,000 bamboo rattan handicraft trade villages, accounting for 24% of the total number of handicraft villages in the country. So far, rattan and bamboo products have been exported to more than 130 countries and territories in the world with an average export turnover of over $US 200 million/year, accounting for 14% of the total export value of handicraft products in the country. According to the latest statistics of the General Department of Customs (Ministry of Finance), the total export value of bamboo and rattan commodities has reached over $US 230.16 million from the beginning of the year to 15th November. Since the beginning of the year, the export of bamboo and rattan products to major markets such as the United States and Japan, reached positive growth.

     Although there has been a noticeable increase in the exports of bamboo and rattan products, Vietnam currently has a very small market share in the world market. Specifically, according to statistics of the Trade-map (database system updating about the trade status of countries): The market share of Vietnamese bamboo and rattan products in the world market is about 3.37%. In particular, the main market of Vietnam's bamboo and rattan products is the US, accounting for 20%, and Japan accounting for 16% of the total export value.

     Some experts said that the opportunities for development of the bamboo rattan industry of Vietnam is quite large. It is feasible to raise the figure from 3.37% of the world market to 8-10%. Along with that, the export turnover of this industry can reach $US 1 billion, and would not be "stuck" at the level of a few hundred million dollars per year as it currently is. Regarding this issue, Mr. Hoang Xuan Thuy, director of the Industrial Promotion and Development Center of Hanoi made a further analysis: Some emerging markets in recent years such as China, Spain, Russia and Australia, have a tendency to import a variety of bamboo and rattan products from Vietnam. Specifically, in recent years, China and Spain have increased imports of bamboo and rattan products in Vietnam with an increase of 40% per year and 13.2% per year, respectively.

Need a proper strategy for development.

     Since the market is quite large and open, why is it the bamboo and rattan industry cannot develop dramatically? According to Mr. Luu Duy Dan, chairman of the Vietnam Craft Villages Association, the key is that Vietnam lacks a sustainable development strategy for handicrafts in general, especially rattan and bamboo. In fact, many policies for the development of rattan, bamboo and leaf products are unrealistic and not close to current production output. Besides, due to personal development, division, monotonous designs, and backward technology, many traditional Vietnamese villages can not compete with other competitors in the international market. In addition, the shortage of capital, unstable markets, unstable material sources have pushed many villages into production at an unachievable level.

     Regarding this issue, Mr. Hoang Xuan Thuy said: Directly at present, the lack of supply is one of the important factors that impedes the development of the bamboo and rattan industry. The main source of supply for Hanoi's bamboo and rattan producing villages are from the northern mountainous provinces, the central region and some of the imports are from abroad. “The response from bamboo rattan manufacturers in Hanoi shows that the supply of raw materials in the past years has been mainly via small-scale roads, small scale production, low and often fluctuating output, unstable delivery times, low quantity and poor quality of raw materials. This partly affects the business activities of enterprises, especially when the company has placed large orders. Many enterprise production facilities that are unable to find a stable supply of raw materials have stopped a number of export orders of great value”, said Mr. Thuy.

     In order to boost the exports of bamboo and rattan products, the experts said that a proper development strategy for the industry should be employed. On that basis, craft villages, people, enterprises and state management agencies have worked closely to come up with comprehensive solutions such as planning material areas, building treatment centers preserving raw materials and innovating product designs. On the business side, developing strategies to expand the market, seeking new markets instead of traditional markets such as the United States and Japan is considered as an important task. Along with that, enterprises must also actively explore each market more carefully to diversify products to suit consumer tastes.

     As the development of bamboo and the rattan industry is in the context of strong economic integration with the world economy today, many people think that when the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is signed, tariff barriers will be removed and non-tariff barriers will increase. At the same time, the bamboo and rattan industry must pay special attention to improving the quality of products, especially the quality standards of countries that have been set up.