Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sarawak to focus on exporting timber to Middle East

Published: Sunday September 27, 2009 ,

The Star, Malaysia

KUCHING: Sarawak will focus on the Middle East market for its future timber exports, especially as the global economy is expected to pick up by the second or third quarter of next year.

Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) General Manager Datuk Len Talif Salleh said Sunday that a delegation from STIDC would be going on a trade mission to Jeddah, Dubai and Oman next month to promote the state's timber products, especially plywood and sawn timber.

"We are confident the economy will pick up (in the second or third quarter of next year) so we must prepare our groundwork so that we are are ready," he told reporters at his Hari Raya open house at Jalan Bako, here.

In terms of value, he said, the Middle East market had steadily increased, registering around RM150mil yearly, but the volume was not big compared to the demand for Sarawak semi-finished timber products.

He said the export markets of India, China and, to a certain extent, Japan comprised 60 percent of the total worth of RM7bil last year while exports to Europe and the United States were minimal.

"However there was a 25 percent decrease in export value and volume in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period last year due to the global recession but India, China and Japan sustained us over this period," he said.

As plywood product was the most affected, he said, flexibility, in terms of policy, on cash flow provision was given to local companies so that they could sustain over that period. - Bernama