Quality certification for plywood imports postponed until next year

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MANDATORY QUALITY certification for imported plywood has been suspended until 2022 after a request from an industry group for more time, citing difficulties in complying with the inspection regime due to pandemic restrictions.

Last week, the Philippines alerted the World Trade Organization to the rule change, allowing the entry of plywood from foreign sources without a Philippine Standard (PS) license valid until December 31.

Plywood was reinstated last year on the list of products to be certified for quality as part of the crackdown on substandard products. The administrative ordinance which went into effect on October 30, 2020 requires a PS license for domestically produced and imported plywood, allowing only those with the certification to be sold in the Philippines.

The Philippine Timber Producers Association, which had supported mandatory certification for product safety, requested more time to comply.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (DTI) in Circular Memorandum 21-30 stated that imports covered by the original order will be exempt from the PS authorization rule, but all other inspection rules and product sampling will always be applied.

All manufacturers and importers must have valid PS licenses before selling any goods in the country by January 1.

The DTI, in anticipation of the publication of the quality certification rules, has studied the return of plywood to the mandatory certification list in response to an increase in imports since its removal from the list in 2015. Commerce Secretary Ramon Mr. Lopez said inferior plywood threatens both public safety and domestic manufacturing.

Earlier this year, the DTI also exempted imported plywood used in the manufacture of furniture from certain testing and licensing rules. – Jenina P. Ibañez


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