DTI puts plywood under mandatory compliance

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    The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it is adding more products, including plywood, in the mandatory compliance after it has seen import surges of these products.

    DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said it will reinstate plywood after finding the volume of products not tested for quality grew almost four times from 2015 to 2019.

    The DTI is drafting a department administrative order (DAO) to curb the influx of untested plywood into the country.

    The DTI has so far issued new technical regulations for cement, steel bars, and glass.

    Consultations are ongoing for regulations on black iron and galvanized iron (BI/GI) steel pipes and steel sheets.

    Aside from plywood, DTI is also working on a draft DAO for ceramic tiles.

    Plywood was among those products removed from the list of mandatory testing in 2015.

    According to the Bureau of Philippine Standards, plywood imports from January to June 2015 stood at 8,624 metric tons (MT) valued at $ 4.5 million.

    This jumped to 32,768 MT valued at $12.75 million in the same period this year..

    A total of 194,826 MT of plywood, worth $ 75.58 million was imported from July 2015 to June 2019.

    Lopez said 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.

    Under the proposed DAO, plywood products must comply with the Technical Regulation for Mandatory PS Licensing Scheme under the International Standard for Plywood, PNS ISO 12465:2017.

    The Bureau of Philippine Standards will then test plywood samples before issuing PS Quality or Safety Certification marks to local manufacturers and Import Commodity Clearances to importers.