Malaysia’s wood based industry is expected to achieve an export value of over RM20bn (US$525bn) this year despite the global economic slowdown.

In stating this, deputy plantation industries and commodities minister Senator A Kohilan said a rise in demand for wood based products from Central Asia and new markets like Eastern Europe and India was expected to push up exports.

Currently, Malaysia was exporting wood based products to almost 150 countries, including the US, Japan and Europe, he told reporters recently after officiating the Annual Timber Research and Industry Briefing.

He said that by coming out with quality wood based products, Malaysia was able to compete and expand its exports. Last year, the export value of wood based products amounted to RM22.5bn from RM22.6bn in 2007.

Mr Kohilan said the government has stepped up efforts to find alternative raw material supply for the wood processing sector due to the continuing growth of the industry.