In a letter to members, the MTC said that when the name change was instituted in 2002 many European and US producers expressed disquiet and said they might take action if the misrepresentation appeared to cause confusion between the two species.

More recently, TRADA has aired its concern, saying that the use of Malaysian oak could contravene UK Trading and/or Advertising Standards and the Trade Descriptions Act.

TRADA also said that if asked to give evidence as an expert witness, it would have to conclude that rubberwood is not an oak species.

After taking legal advice the MTC determined that the use of the name Malaysian oak could create legal problems.

In its letter the MTC stated: “The continuation of the promotion of rubberwood as Malaysian oak may damage the existing good relations between Malaysian timber suppliers and overseas buyers, particularly in Europe and the US.”

Advising members to stop promoting rubberwood as Malaysian oak, the MTC said that failure to do so would be at their own risk.

The move has been welcomed by Michael Buckley of Turnstone Communications. “This retraction should be seen as a positive and helpful contribution by the Malaysians to aid consumers in understanding the world of wood,” he said.

He explained that the correct naming of wood gives an indication to both specifiers and consumers of where the wood comes from, how it is likely to perform and a probable price level, and added: “Many consumers are sufficiently confused about wood species and we have a responsibility not to add to that confusion.”