Malaysia has informed the WTO of its intention to restrict formaldehyde emissions from wood-based panel products. The proposed date of adoption is January 2020.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 138/19

Wooden Kitchen Set

On September 20, 2019, the World Trade Organization (WTO) circulated a proposal from Malaysia announcing its intention to regulate formaldehyde emissions from wood-based panel products under the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (Incorporation) Act 1973 (Act 105).

The draft technical regulation, attached to WTO document number 19-6067 and notified under G/TBT/N/MYS/98, would restrict formaldehyde emissions in the following wood-based panel products:

  • Particleboards/chipboards (HS Code 44.10)
  • Fiberboards (HS Code 44.11)
  • Plywood (HS Code 44.12)

The draft technical regulation contains, inter alia, several important provisions:

  • Requiring formaldehyde emissions to be carried out by a laboratory accredited by a National Accreditation Agency that is a member of Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) or International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC)
  • Requiring manufacturers and suppliers of regulated products to submit a test report issued under Regulation 5 as determined by the Board
  • Requiring importers of regulated products to submit a test report under Regulation 5 and other documentation as prescribed by the Board for an import license

According to the WTO document, there are two proposed dates in the draft technical regulation:

  • January 2, 2020 for the date of adoption
  • July 1, 2020 for the date of entry into force

Highlights of formaldehyde emission requirements are summarized in Table 1.

WTO Document number 19-6067, September 20, 2019
Malaysian Timber Industry (Incorporation) Act 1973 (Act 195)
Draft Wood Industrial Regulation (Formaldehyde Emission Levels from Wood-Based Panel Products) 2019

Formaldehyde Emission Class
Desiccator Method
Perforator Method
Chamber Method
Formaldehyde emission level
E1 or
E0 or
Super E0
E1 or
E0 or
Super E0
ISO 12460-4
MS 1787-Part 15
ISO 12460-5
MS 1787-Part 14
ISO 12460-1
ISO 12460-2
Standard specification
MS 228 (Plywood)
MS 1912 (Fiberboard)
MS 1036 (Particleboard/Chip board)

Table 1

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