PLYWOOD has been restored to the list of products that must be certified for quality as part of a crackdown on imports of substandard goods.

The trade department said last year it was studying returning plywood to the mandatory certification list after a surge in imports since its removal from the list in 2015. Since the removal, imported plywood has not been tested for compliance.

Substandard plywood threatens both public safety and domestic manufacturing, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has said.

Administrative order 20-06 published on Oct. 15 requires Philippine Standard licensing for both domestically-manufactured and imported plywood.

Only plywood with the licensing quality certification mark may be distributed, sold, and used in the Philippines. Producers found compliant with requirements will be granted the certification, and will be subject to regular audits.

The Bureau of Philippine Standards or its assigned inspection body will conduct sampling in their recognized testing laboratory, checking for dimensions and tolerances, mechanical characteristics like tension, and physical properties like density, among others.

If an application is denied, the company could be given an order to explain its case. The processing of the company’s succeeding applications may be suspended until the issues are resolved.

The bureau may suspend issued licenses and blacklist importers if the violations warrant it.

If the company’s explanations are deemed not acceptable, the manufacturer or importer will be directed to cease selling non-conforming products and conduct a full product recall.

The minimum required markings on the products must be visible and legible, including the registered brand name, trade mark, business name, country of origin, type of plywood, and PS Mark with license number.

The Philippine Wood Producers Association last year said that they supported the mandatory certification of plywood, explaining that substandard products create safety risks. — Jenina P. Ibañez