Wood producers are calling the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) attention regarding the illegal importation of plywood from China, saying the product is threatening the businesses of local producers and the safety of consumers.

Smuggled plywood, the Philippine Woods Producers Association (PWPA) said in a press conference on Tuesday, is only 4.5mm thin but often marketed to be 5mm thick. Chinese plywood is also unable to handle sanding and contains glue with high formaldehyde emissions, endangering those who work with the material, it added.

The Chinese version sells at a lower price and has forced local producers to lower their own prices in order to compete with the smuggled plywood.

"This is a coy attempt at tricking consumers who are usually naive of the existence of such standards. It also robs the government of unpaid VAT and import duties amounting to about P76 to P80 million monthly for 400 forty-foot container vans. These illegal imports unfairly compete and undercut the prices of local plywood manufacturers," said PWPA deputy director Maila Vasquez.

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