Eight Sarawak plywood firms under probe.
KUCHING: A team of investigators from Korean Trade Commission (KTC) is in Sarawak for a month-long probe into allegations that eight Sarawak plywood suppliers were dumping their products in South Korea.
The four-man team, which met state-owned Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corp (STIDC) and Sarawak Timber Association (STA) senior officials earlier a week ago, are now in Sibu after completing their investigations on two plywood mills owned by Shin Yang Plywood Sdn Bhd and Menawan Wood Sdn Bhd in Miri.
The other six plywood exporters based in Sibu and Bintulu respectively are Subur Tiasa Plywood Sdn Bhd, Hwa Sen Veneer and Plywood Industries Sdn Bhd, Jaya Tiasa Timber Products Sdn Bhd, Jaya Tiasa Plywood Sdn Bhd, Rimbunan Hijau Plywood Sdn Bhd, Shin Yang Plywood (Bintulu) Sdn Bhd, Zedtee Plywood Sdn Bhd and Forescom Sdn Bhd.
The team is expected to wrap up its probe on Nov 2. The eight exporters have earlier responded individually to KTC’s set of questions.
Another plywood exporter in the peninsula was also accused of dumping its products in the South Korean market.
STA chief executive officer Dr Lee Hua Seng said the KTC team was carrying out on-site verification of the allegations made by the Korean Wood Panel Association (KWPA) in March.
The KWPA filed a petition to the KTC, claiming that Sarawak plywood exporters had sold their products below the production cost and hurt many South Korean plywood manufacturers which in turn suffered damages in terms of profits, sales and market shares.
“They (investigators) will spend between three and four days with each company,” he told StarBiz yesterday.
The STIDC and STA have jointly refuted the accusations, and they are expected to make a representation to the KTC to defend the Sarawak’s plywood exporters.
This is the first time Sarawak plywood producers had been accused on dumping their products in the international markets.
At the KTC’s request, the STIDC has appointed a consultant – KPMG – to conduct an independent probe on the allegations.
Dr Lee said the KTC was expected to announce the outcome of its investigation by December, 2010.
Local plywood exporters got a temporary relief two months ago when the South Korean government in July, decided to defer its anti-dumping duties on the products by reversing an earlier decision to slap punitive duties, ranging from 5.11% to 33.81%, on local plywood imports.
The republic’s Ministry of Finance and Strategy had said that a formal ruling would only be made in the next five months pending further investigation by the KTC.
Sarawak exported more than 530,000 cu m of panel products worth RM570mil to South Korea last year.
Local suppliers are concerned that if the issue was not amicably resolved,it could affect their exports to South Korea, a key market.