He said Malaysia's export of timber and timber products, including wooden and rattan furniture, plywood and sawn timber, increased 6.5 per cent to RM22.1 billion in 2015 from RM20.5 billion in 2014.
For furniture alone, exports increased 14 per cent to about RM9 billion last year, he told reporters on the sidelines of the MTC Marketing Seminar themed, "Current Market Development and Outlook for Malaysian Timber Products and Furniture in China, India, Europe, the Middle East, the Philippines and the US".
The seminar was officiated by Deputy Secretary-General of the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry Datuk M. Nagarajan on behalf of its minister Datuk Seri Douglas Unggah Embas.
Abdul Rahim also said the outlook for the industry was quite positive but it was region-based.
"Therefore, there was a need to update industry players on opportunities and challenges that lie in various key markets," said Abdul Rahim.
Malaysian industry players need to look for new markets besides exploring niche opportunities and expand in traditional markets, he added.
"We are now looking at India, which imported about RM1.89 billion worth of furniture in 2015 and China which also registered growth besides other key markets like the United States, Japan and Australia," he said.
"Continued growth and progress of the industry is also largely dependent upon its ability to shift from the current manufacturing-based mindset to one that is more innovation centric, providing more value-added products to international markets," said Abdul Rahim.
Earlier, Unggah, in his speech said the timber industry accounted for 18.5 per cent of total exports earnings in the commodity sector and 2.8 per cent of the country's total merchandise export.
"Even in the face of global uncertainties, I am confident that the Malaysian timber industry will be resilient and can sustain its export growth performance," he said, in his speech, read by Nagarajan.
Unggah said, while exploring overseas markets, players must not ignore the significant demand in the domestic market.
The industry should also capitalise on the e-commerce platform to reach out to potential buyers, both local and foreign, and consider using the social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach out to potential buyers, he added.