The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 21-17, series of 2021 providing supplemental guidelines for the implementation of Department Administrative Order (DAO) 20-06, series of 2020 or “The New Technical Regulation Concerning the Mandatory Product Certification of Plywood”. The MC took effect on 08 May 2021 immediately after its publication in The Philippine Star and Daily Tribune.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said that MC 21-17 was issued to address concerns raised by some stakeholders on the regulation of plywood products not intended for distribution in the local market particularly those for furniture making. “This circular will support the Philippine furniture industry meet international demands and requirements, and become more competitive in the international market,” Secretary Lopez added.

Starting May 8, all importations of plywood products for furniture making shall be exempted from product sampling and testing. However, product inspection and verification shall be conducted on the importer’s first shipment. Succeeding importations may not be subjected to further inspection and verification provided that the importer has been previously issued a Certificate of Exemption for the same product and intended use.

In a statement, the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF), Inc., the primary industry support organization of the furniture manufacturers and exporters in the country, lauded DTI for the issuance of MC 21-17. "The entire Philippine furniture industry is very grateful for the attention and prompt action to our challenges. The MC 21-17 will help our industry catch up to international lead times, helping the furniture manufacturing industry become competitive in the international market. We very much appreciate the efforts of the Department of Trade and Industry at helping the business sector most especially at this time of the pandemic,” CFIF said.

DTI clarified in MC 21-17 that importations of decorative, laminated, film-faced, phenolic, pre-finished veneered, and other similar types of plywood are covered by DAO 20-06 and shall be inspected and verified on a per shipment, per Bill of Lading / Airway Bill basis. However, the same shall not be subjected to product sampling and testing. Certificate of Exemption may be issued upon satisfactory evaluation of the application and corresponding documentary requirements.

MC 21-17 also contains supplemental provisions on Philippine Standard (PS) License applications. PS License is required for all local or imported plywood products covered by DAO 20-06. Meanwhile, it is not required for all imported plywood products intended for furniture making and for all local or imported decorative, laminated, film-faced, phenolic, and pre-finished veneered plywood.

A steep administrative penalty of PhP 500,000.00 and immediate suspension of PS License will be imposed against a manufacturer or importer found to have made misdeclaration or misrepresentation with regard to the plywood type or intended use of the product in order to circumvent the certification process. If the manufacturer or importer has no valid PS License, the same will be blacklisted from importing or manufacturing covered products.

The full copy of MC 21-17, series of 2021 and other DTI-BPS issuances may be downloaded from the BPS Standards and Conformance Portal,