MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Philippines Bureau of Customs (BOC) said it will ratchet up efforts to prevent alleged "substandard" plywood from being smuggled into the country from China.
The BOC's vow to more closely monitor plywood imports was requested by the Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA). The PWPA charged that smuggled plywood from China is hurting its members' business and flooding the market with panels that do not meet mandatory quality standards set by the Bureau of Product Standards. The PWPA had sought similar relief late last year.
The PWPA claims that plywood smuggling has caused the loss of up to 15,000 jobs in the Philippines' wood products industry. PWPA President Antonio Olizon authored a letter to Customs Commissioner Ruffy Blazon asking the bureau to do step up efforts to combat the flow of illegal plywood. "The technical smuggling of plywood has harmful effects on our local wood industry and our economy,” Olizon wrote.
Blazon said he agreed to honor the PWPA's request. “We will not allow these sub-standard plywood to get through customs gates as it could pose grave danger to the country’s economy in general and construction industry, in particular.” Biazon said. “All our ports have always been on a heightened alert level for any form of illegal importation. But we will take exception to the Philippine Wood Producers Association’s request. We shall undertake a double alert level in monitoring the country’s plywood importations from China.” Biazon added.
Hardwood plywood imports from China are also being closely scrutinized in the United States. Two weeks ago, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted 6-0 to continue its antidumping investigation against Chinese hardwood plywwod imports. The ITC said, "there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of hardwood plywood from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value."