MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Alarmed by reports of alleged rampant smuggling of plywood fromChina, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon has ordered the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) Intelligence Group under Deputy Commissioner Danilo Lim to closely monitor the country’s plywood importations, especially those coming from Tsing Tao, Qing Dao and Shandong China.

Blazon’s order was issued amid claims by the Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA) that plywood smuggling is not only hurting their industry, but is shortchanging consumers as well because these illegally imported plywood do not meet the mandatory standards set by the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS).

“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.

According to the PWPA, plywood smuggling has already caused the loss of 10,000 to 15,000 jobs in their industry. Fearing that more jobs could be lost if plywood smuggling is not stopped, the PWPA, in a letter to Commissioner Biazon asked for the BOC’s heightened monitoring of all plywood shipment from China. Illegally imported plywood usually fetch lower prices than the locally produced ones, creating a significant price distortion in the local market. “The technical smuggling of plywood has harmful effects on our local wood industry and our economy” PWPA President Antonio Olizon said in his letter to Biazon.

“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 concluded.

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