Japanese firms to import wooden furniture from Laos

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - A Japanese furniture maker has formed a business partnership with its Lao counterpart to produce wooden products to suit the Japanese market.

Mr Hideo Mitsuhashi, Head office of Mihashi.,  visited some furniture factories in Laos this week to discuss the possibility of providing machines to make furniture and train Lao furniture makers to produce goods that meet the standards and demands of the Japanese market.

On Wednesday, he visited the President of Vetsaphone Skill Development and Testing Centre, Mr Yothin Vetsaphong. In an interview with Vientiane Times, Mr Yothin noted that Mr Mitsuhashi had visited four furniture factories in Laos in two days to explore the possibility of future cooperation.

Mr Yothin who is also President of the Wood Manufacturing Cluster said that a visiting Japanese businessman ordered Lao furniture with the total cost of US$40,000 which includes bamboo, wooden carvings, wooden parquets, rattan and other furniture.

The visitor was very interested in the products but said he could not buy many this time round but sure he will order more again in the future, he said.

All the products he bought will be displayed at the Mihasi showroom, and Kasyoku Studio in Tokyo. It will be a good step in helping to promote Lao furniture to the Japanese market.

Mr Mitsuhashi expressed confidence that Laos has the capacity to export wooden furniture into Japan as the country has large amounts of timber including natural species that can make good quality furniture products for export, particularly rattan and wooden carving. On the other hand, Lao carving has a strong identity and is good for international trade.

There are many interesting furniture products in Laos that could be sold in Japan. He also plans to export Lao furniture to some of the 17 countries that he already has cooperation with including Europe, Africa and others.

“My plan is not just to be a partner in exporting Lao furniture but to create a skill exchange to improve the quality for the future,” he said.

Three years ago Mr Yothin was invited to visit the furniture trade fair in Japan.

Mr Mitsuhashi also brought furniture machines to the Vetsaphone Skill Development and Testing Centre to make faster and better quality furniture. They will also have a course to teach the staff engineering so that they are able to use the machines from Japan. 

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