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The furniture sector has reported constant growth in recent years.
Romania ranks 10th at EU level in terms of furniture exports, with Germany, Italy and Poland being Europe’s top three exporters. Romania’s furniture exports weathered the challenges of the economic crisis and even outgrew the levels of 2008. Local manufacturers say the qualified and cheap labour force, the abundance of quality raw material and the century-old expertise of certain factories have had a great contribution in that respect. Here is the president of the Romanian Furniture Makers’ Association, Aurica Sereny:
“Studies specialists have carried out so far reveal that the furniture demand is on the rise. As a country, Romania has all the conditions to manufacture high-end furniture items, and we have seen that our numbers on the foreign market have gone up, due to our tradition in this field, our labour force, to the quality raw material we have and which we want to use to make furniture, not to sell it as logs, timber or wooden plates. We were very happy to find out that 2014 had been the first year when furniture exports surpassed the overall value of exports of raw materials, such as logs or timber. Furniture exports therefore went up, from 47.7% in 2012, for instance, to 50.4% last year. 2014 was also the first year when log exports went down, including timber exports, while furniture exports went up by 11.1%. At the same time, log and timber exports went up, which is a positive signal, given our available capacity. Investments in this sector are also growing.”
Aurica Sereny also referred to the businesses operating in this area and which take an interest in developing exports:
“Operating businesses are developing new capacities or expand their current capacities, because there is an export market. The Furniture Makers’ Association is making efforts to make their way onto new markets. Last year was a very difficult one for us, because we couldn’t attend the fairs in Kiev and Moscow and set up a national pavilion, due to the security developments in the region. However, exports went up by 11.1%. There were loss-making businesses as a consequence, because their export flows were targeting markets in that area. Accordingly, they had to come up with new furniture designs adapted to the Western market. This year as well we plan on attending international fairs, to go to Saudi Arabia, a market we have not yet accessed, in order to ensure new opportunities for Romanian furniture-makers to sell their products on the foreign market”.
The president of the Romanian Furniture Makers’ Association, Aurica Sereny also told us more about the main countries where Romania is exporting furniture at present.
“Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and Spain are our main export destinations. Depending on how our sales have faired, exports have reported drops in some of those countries, followed by spectacular comebacks. For instance, exports on the British market had dropped significantly during the crisis, whereas now they are flourishing, which is also the case of Italy”.
Aurica Sereny also referred to the domestic market:
“According to our research, the internal demand has gone up, particularly the demand for HoReCa furniture, namely furniture addressing the hospitality industry. The demand for hardwood furniture has also gone up. At the same time, consumption of cheap furniture has also increased, especially imported furniture which is very cheap and is brought in from China, Turkey and Poland. Those countries have therefore increased their exports of cheap furniture to Romania. Our producers, although they manufacture wooden-plated furniture, focus on medium- and high-price items. We cannot compete with China, given that our companies receive no subsidies whatsoever. Most of the manufacturing costs are being subsidized in China, thus enabling the companies to sell cheap furniture. Of course, this type of furniture is less sturdy, but that’s a different story”.
Data made public by the Romanian Furniture Makers’ Association reveal that Romania mainly manufactures hardwood furniture, art furniture, classic furniture, but also school furniture and wooden toys. On the other hand, Romania imports wooden-plated furniture and reed furniture, but also furniture used in fitting medical practices and beauty salons. Furniture is one of the few sectors of the Romanian economy where exports surpass imports.
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