2017 was a tough year for the Malaysian furniture manufacturers and exporters with persistent issues and challenges relating to production, material supply, red tape and soft global demand for furniture. However, the Malaysian furniture industry persevered and furniture exports in 2017 exceeded RM10 billion.
According to the official trade statistics from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysian furniture exports grew by 6.4% last year, a stronger pace compared to the 4.2% in 2016, to record RM10.1 billion of furniture exports to over 180 countries.
As a net exporter of furniture, Malaysia remains in the list of top 10 furniture exporters in the world according to the CSIL Centre for Industrial Studies.
However, the Malaysia Furniture Council (MFC) has pointed out the challenges to sector growth which include:
- the availability of sawn rubberwood
- the Malaysian Timber Export Board (MTIB) export license requirement on furniture exports,
- the continued export of rubberwood veneer and finger-jointed sawnwood
- the availability of foreign labour
The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities recently announced the following to support furniture manufacturers:
- a moratorium on sawn rubberwood exports
- continued deferment of the MTIB export license requirement for furniture
- review of levy on veneer and finger jointed sawwood
- review of the foreign worker levy and minimum wage rates
The MFC has confidence that the RM10 billion furniture export target as determined in the National Timber Industry Policy can be achieved.