The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has written to the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, suggesting that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigates any claim under the Coniferous Plywood Quota made below £205/m³.

In the letter to David Gauke MP, the TTF says there is continuing concern in the UK panel products industry that volumes of plywood continue to be fraudulently claimed under the Coniferous Plywood Quota, thereby distorting the market and depriving the Treasury of funds.

“As an example, 14,156m³ of plywood from China was claimed under the quota during the period January to June 2011, totalling £2.9m, which almost certainly was not coniferous throughout plywood under the terms of the duty concession,” wrote TTF technical and trade officer Nick Llewellin.

“This value would amount to £3.1m if duty at 7% had been paid, leaving a potential loss in revenue for HMRC of around £200,000 in this period alone.”

The TTF suggested HMRC triggers an investigation when any quota claim is made below a certain price point.

“For example, under the current period commencing January 2012 any plywood claimed under the quota that is priced below £205 per m³ (cost and freight) is almost certainly not coniferous throughout and therefore is potentially being declared fraudulently.”