The National Panel Products Division of the Timber Trade Federation has issued guidance to its members regarding the emerging supply of Chinese plywood and has made it clear that any Chinese plywood should be described correctly and is ‘fit for purpose’ when sold on to customers.

China is a growing source of plywood and considerable volumes of Chinese plywood have been arriving in the UK during the final quarter of this year.

It would appear to be inappropriate to mark Chinese plywood as Far Eastern because most buyers specify Far Eastern in the belief that by doing so they receive a product consisting of tropical hardwood veneers throughout, manufactured to Indonesian or Malaysian quality standards. As the Chinese product does not fit this description it appears more appropriate to be developed as a separate brand in its own right.

The Federation does not want to put members or end users off using a perfectly legitimate new source of plywood but we do want them to be careful about precisely what they are buying and how members then sell it into the market place.

For example, it has come to the notice of the Federation that Greenpeace has written to HM Customs and Excise alleging that a number of importers are declaring okoume-faced plywood with a lower Tariff Code than the one which should apply (ie Tariff Code 4412 13 10).

The Federation would like to stress that members should trade according to the principles outlined in the Conduct Assurance Scheme and that if they operate within this framework and follow the advice issued by the NPPD then they have nothing to fear from the authorities.

Only by doing this will members make a reality of the Code of Conduct commitment to delivering quality and service.