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AHEC Reinforces Efforts in Asia in 2016

Hong Kong: Southeast Asia is one of the largest and fastest-growing import markets for temperate hardwoods and specifically Vietnam has become the third largest export market for American hardwood exports. Plans by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) are now in place for the whole Asian region.

The U.S. hardwood industry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture believe that the consumption of American hardwoods in Asia can be further increased by continuing to develop market promotion and related activities over the next few years. Their long term goal is to raise the profile of hardwoods from the vast sustainably managed forests of the USA among overseas manufacturers of furniture, floors, doors and windows, moulding and other joinery products with architects and designers who specify materials for these uses.

AHEC programmes are also intended to support importers and traders supplying these applications and aim to increase awareness of the variety and quality of U.S. hardwoods. AHEC has always made the point that a contribution to sustainable forestry is sustainable marketing, by promoting a wide range of species for many applications, which entails providing information on how to utilise lesser known, yet plentiful, species and grades rather than just those that are already popular. A full technical seminar programme in support of this objective will be announced in due course.

Initiatives by AHEC in 2016 will include, extending its successful campaign based in the theme ‘Designed in Asia and made in Asia with American hardwood’ which was soft launched in November 2014 and has been at the centre of AHEC’s marketing throughout 2015. The objective was conceived to recognise Asian design talent and to inspire Asian manufacturers and designers to focus on American hardwood species which are now widely available throughout Asia.

Its implementation requires generic promotion by the display of individual items of fine furniture and architectural projects in various American hardwood species created in different Asian countries. This will continue to be developed and supported by exhibiting at shows, with advertising and editorial content in key target trade and design journals to recognise Asian design and manufacturing achievements as examples to Asian professionals. For example, AHEC will continue to use the ‘Designed in Asia’ theme with two new flooring adverts to be launched at the start of 2016, one of which features an Indonesian house with solid American white oak flooring and the other a Japanese dentist’s office with four American hardwood species providing a dramatic effect.

Globally, AHEC has become well known for a series of projects that have spectacularly demonstrated the beauty, strength and suitability of American hardwoods, such as ‘Endless Stair’, ‘The Wish List’ and ‘The Wave’ to name just a few. The coming year will be one in which AHEC seeks to find such a project of its own in Asia, by engaging with the architectural, design and making community.

AHEC intends exhibiting throughout Asia, starting with the 2016 furniture shows in Southeast Asia, by emulating the IFFS 2015 stand at key regional furniture shows Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF 1 – 5 March), the Vietnam International Furniture & Home Furnishing Fair (VIFA 8 – 11 March) as well as exhibiting again at the International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS 10 – 13 March). AHEC will showcase Asian furniture and flooring designs, all in American hardwood, at these events. AHEC will be participating at the Domotex flooring show in Shanghai and Interzum furniture show in Guangzhou in China. Also in China AHEC will hold its annual Southeast Asia and Greater China Convention in Chongqing from 23-24 June 2016, an event always well attended by delegates from the USA and all over Asia. Immediately thereafter, AHEC will exhibit again at Sylvawood in Shanghai from 27 – 29 June 2016; and finally at the IFMAC wood industry show in Indonesia at the end of September.

American Cherry will receive special focus this year in Asia, as manufacturers begin to show increasing interest in returning to its qualities for fine furniture and joinery. Together with the combination of two Cherry furniture adverts and a series of articles promoting Cherry – now very competitive with other similar hardwoods and highly regarded in the world’s furniture markets. Its technical properties will also be included in regional American hardwood supplements which are annually published by AHEC in four languages (Chinese, English, Vietnamese and Bahasa Indonesia) in Southeast Asia and China.