Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government has planned to build a special economic zone (SEZ) for the wood industry to increase the wood production and competitiveness of Indonesian timber and furniture products.

"We will build a special economic zone for the wood industry because we are far behind Vietnam. Vietnam's total exports (of wood products) reached US$15.7 billion, (while) we were only at US$2 billion," Chairman of the Sedulur Wood and Furniture (Sekabel) Association, Setyo Wisnu Broto, told reporters here on Friday.

Broto met with President Joko Widodo at the Jakarta Presidential Palace on Friday.

Earlier, he had submitted a letter to meet President Widodo to discuss the wood and furniture industry, and his association was invited to meet the president on Friday.

At the meeting, Minister of Investment and Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Bahlil Lahadalia was also present.

On that occasion, the Sekabel Association brought up several issues with the president, such as the national wood and furniture industry that has been affected by the Ukraine-Russia and Palestine-Israel wars.

"The regulation once improved, but the wars made it complicated," he remarked.

He noted that to enter the European market, national wood and furniture entrepreneurs should comply with the EU Deforestation Regulations (EUDR).

"We also spoke about entering the European market that must go through a complicated system. We discussed this and (hoped) the government can help, so we can enter easier," Broto remarked.

He expected that all regulations and facilities will be integrated in the wood industry SEZ, including the wood downstreaming industry.

Broto did not reveal details on which areas will be designated as a wood industry SEZ, but he said that 30 potential locations had been proposed.

After the SEZ location has been selected, President Widodo will conduct the groundbreaking.

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Translator: Rangga J, Kenzu
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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