Golden era for furniture makers

CHINESE furniture makers, spurred by increased export demands following China's entry to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), are entering a golden era.  

The output value of the country's furniture sector last year was 165bil yuan (RM75.8bil), up 17% from the previous year, according to initial statistics from the China National Furniture Association.  

Furniture exports last year were worth US$5.3bil (RM20bil), 30% more than in 2001, according to the association's statistics.  

“The furniture industry will maintain its rapid growth rate this year,” said Cao Yingchao, secretary-general of the association, adding that this year, the furniture sector is expected to expand by more than 15% in industrial output, and 30% in export.  

The value of furniture imports to China was just over US$100mil (RM380mil) last year, despite predictions imports would soar after China's WTO entry.  

In keeping with China's WTO commitment, import tariffs on furniture dropped from 22% to 11% last year. Tariffs will drop to 7.5% this year and be eliminated by 2005.  

Meanwhile, other WTO members are set to give Chinese products equal treatment, a move which will bolster China's furniture export industry, Cao said.  

However, he worried that the United States may implement anti-dumping sanctions on Chinese made furniture.  

US furniture makers proposed in October last year that unfair competition existed between their home grown products and foreign exports.  

The US is the largest importer of Chinese furniture. Customs statistics show the US imported US$2.5bil (RM9.5bil) worth of Chinese furniture during the first 11 months of last year, 39.46% more than the same time the previous year. – China Daily  

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