DTI eyes reinstating plywood under mandatory testing

Published October 30, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is looking into the possibility of reinstating plywood under mandatory standard certification amid influx of untested imported plywood into the country.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez

DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said this after holding a consultation meeting with plywood industry stakeholders to get their inputs about the influx of plywood in the country.

Plywood imports, which are not tested for quality, grew almost four times from 2015 to 2019.

“If needed, the agency will draft a Department Administrative Order (DAO) to reinstate plywood in the list of products under mandatory certification,” said Lopez.

Lopez explained that reinstating plywood under mandatory certification ensures safety for consumers and eliminate the selling of substandard plywood products in the market.

During the recent 2nd Consumer Congress, Lopez said that substandard plywood is “unfair to all of us” and are threatening both public safety and the local manufacturing industry.

“We saw the numbers in plywood. In a three-year period since plywood was removed from the list in 2015, imports have rapidly increased and these are not tested for standard compliance. It’s good if these products comply with the standards,” Lopez said.

According to the Bureau of Philippine Standards, plywood imports from January to June 2015 reached 8,624 MT, worth around $4.5 million. In the same period in 2019, plywood imports have quadrupled to 32,768 MT, worth around $12.75 million.
A total of 194,826 MT of plywood worth $ 75.58 million were imported from July 2015 to June 2019.

“We are adding more products in the mandatory compliance since many of them were released from the list. Since then, we saw import surges of these products. And since they are not subjected to mandatory testing, substandard products can come in,” the trade chief said.

He noted that since substandard plywood can be sold at a very low price, local manufacturers may be forced to sell at a loss or stop operations. This, in turn, may shrink the country’s manufacturing base and widen the trade deficit.

Sec. Lopez then called on consumer groups to join the DTI in pushing for mandatory compliance standards to protect the consumers and local manufacturers.