Wood pulp, waste paper exports hit US$251 m in 2019

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos’ wood pulp and waste paper exports last year were worth US$251 million, putting these commodities in fourth place overall in terms of export revenue. 

Electricity was in first place with exports of US$ 1,066 million between January and October 2019. The second spot went to gold ore with exports of US$550 million, and copper was in third place with US$401 million.

Wood pulp and waste paper exports to China were worth about US$250 million, while exports to Thailand were valued at US$800,000 and US$200,000 for Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

The main raw material for wood pulp is eucalyptus trees, and the government is systematically promoting their planting along with environmental protection measures.

The campaign has encouraged farmers to plant more eucalyptus as the land is suitable for their cultivation and more use of this wood would reduce hardwood imports.

While wood pulp is produced from eucalyptus trees, waste paper is derived from recycled paper.

Despite Laos’ significant wood pulp and waste paper exports, the nation’s imports of these two commodities are worth about US$24 million.

Of this figure, imports from China are worth about US$86 million, from the US about US$9 million, from the Republic of Korea US$77,000, and from Thailand US$62,000.

The nation’s largest wood pulp and waste paper plant is in Savannakhet province, with an annual production capacity of about 1.2 million tonnes, equal to the output of a large factory in Brazil.

A Lao-Swedish joint venture, Burapha Agroforestry Company Ltd. is a large promoter of eucalyptus plantations in Laos and has its own sawmill, processing facilities and plantations.

The company is currently building a wood pulp factory in Vientiane province to supply domestic and export market needs.

The company is encouraging local people to plant eucalyptus trees on thousands of hectares in provinces across the country. 

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