HO CHI MINH CITY, June 25, Xinhua - Vietnam has become the 69th member of the International Tropical Timber Organization ( ITTO), and its entry is expected to bring more benefits to the country's forest sector, local media reported Wednesday.

"By joining ITTO, Vietnam has shown its progress towards international integration and its readiness for regional and international cooperation on tropical forest management, as well as the promotion of responsible trade of tropical timber and timber products," Nguyen Ba Ngai, deputy director general of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, was quoted by local Vietnam News as reporting.      

ITTO is an intergovernmental organization established under the auspices of the United Nations in 1986. Its members represent about 80 percent of the world's tropical forests and 90 percent of the global tropical timber trade, according to the organization.     

According to the Vietnam Timber and Forestry Products Association, Vietnam's forest sector had made significant progress in increasing forest cover and developing material plantations and timber processing for export in recent years.      

General secretary of the association, Nguyen Ton Quyen, said the timber industry and products are among Vietnam's top 10 sectors, which have the largest export turnover.      

In the first six months of this year, total export turnover of timber products was estimated at 3 billion U.S. dollars, a 14 percent increase over the same period last year. The largest market for the export of Vietnam's timber is currently the United States, followed by Europe.      

In 2013, Vietnam's timber export turnover was 5.5 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 4 percent of the global market. It also made Vietnam the second largest timber exporter in Asia.