Lee Jimerson (right), Pacific Albus Product Manager at The Collins Cos., Portland, Ore., welcomes a monk to Collinsʼ exhibitorʼs booth at MyanmarWood 2013.
Myanmar, Burma–MyanmarWood 2012 was the first international furniture supply fair to take place in Myanmar. There were exhibitors showing lumber, secondary woodworking equipment, adhesives, router bits, saws, knives, portable sawmills, mill electronics, and more – everything you needed to build and operate a modern furniture factory.
The Collins Cos., headquartered in Portland, Ore., was the only international lumber manufacturer exhibiting at the show, according to Lee Jimerson, Pacific Albus Product Manager at Collins, who attended the show. He said that there was strong interest in their CollinsWood product line of North American hardwood and softwood lumber and panel products, which are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. Their Pacific Albus® hardwood lumber was of particular interest, as it is relatively new to the marketplace, but is already being used extensively for furniture manufacturing in Vietnam, China and Malaysia – all Myanmar’s neighbors.
Ikea had two New Business Development Managers walking the show to consider Myanmar as a potential furniture supplier. The Ikea representatives were surprised and pleased to see a supplier like Collins exhibiting FSC certified wood products, as Ikea requires verified legally harvested wood, at a minimum, with a preference for FSC certified wood in their furniture. Access to well kiln-dried lumber will be very important to Myanmar’s emerging furniture industry in order to compete at the international level. A combination of imports and domestic Myanmar woods will be able to meet this demand going forward.
Now that the Western countries, including the U.S., have eased trade restrictions on Myanmar – because to Myanmar’s recent political reforms, many companies are looking into doing business there – Myanmar is a resource-rich country with their own vast forest resources, including Teak. The government still maintains tight control on the harvest and sale of Teak logs, which could bode well for them developing a sustainable secondary forest products industry where their products will comply with the Lacey Act and the possibility to become FSC certified. If this comes to pass, Ikea and others should become stable furniture buyers in Myanmar.
Two visitors from Goodwell, of Taiwan, in The Collins Companies booth at MyanmarWood look at samples of Pacific Albus.
Myanmar, and those wanting to develop business in Myanmar, will need to make substantial investments to bring their furniture industry to the international level and MyanmarWood 2012 is a great first step, according to a Collins representative who attended this show.