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Risk Score
31.1
Risk Profile
Medium Risk
Conflict State
No
Log Export Restriction
Yes
Other Timber Export Restrictions
Yes
Import Regulation
No
Latest Updates Click for latest news from Belarus
March 31, 2023
ITTO reports on shifts in EU27 timber trade due to Russian and Belarussian sanctions

The EU first imposed trade sanctions on Belarus timber products on 2 March 2022. These were extended to Russian timber products on 8 April 2022. On 10 March 2022, Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry announced a ban on all wood and timber-related exports to “unfriendly countries”, including the EU, UK and US. Both leading certification organisations, the PEFC and FSC, announced in March 2022 that all timber originating from Russia and Belarus would be categorised as ‘conflict timber’ (i.e. from a controversial source) and not eligible to be sold and promoted as PEFC- or FSC-certified. This had a significant impact on many European companies which had become heavily dependent on Russia and Belarus for their supplies of certified wood.

 

The EU first imposed trade sanctions on Belarus timber products on 2 March 2022. These were extended to Russian timber products on 8 April 2022. On 10 March 2022, Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry announced a ban on all wood and timber-related exports to “unfriendly countries”, including the EU, UK and US. Both leading certification organisations, the PEFC and FSC, announced in March 2022 that all timber originating from Russia and Belarus would be categorised as ‘conflict timber’ (i.e. from a controversial source) and not eligible to be sold and promoted as PEFC- or FSC-certified. This had a significant impact on many European companies which had become heavily dependent on Russia and Belarus for their supplies of certified wood.

 

EU27 import value of wood and wood furniture from China increased only 4% to US$6.0 billion in 2022, although this did build on a massive 42% gain the previous year. Import value from Ukraine also increased by 9% to US$1.9 billion in 2022, despite the serious disruption due to the war, following a 55% gain the previous year. Other significant beneficiaries were Turkey, for which EU27 import value increased 32% to US$890 million last year, and non-tropical products from Brazil which recorded a 54% increase to US$ 690 million in 2022

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March 3, 2023
Earthsight summary of G7 sanctions to stop multibillion-dollar “conflict timber” trade from Russia and Belarus

On the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week, G7 countries announced new sanctions on Russia and Belarus.

 

This new Earthsight article shows that since the conflict began, the USA, Canada, Japan, the EU and the UK have imported timber and wood products worth over $2.9 billion from Russia and Belarus.

 

Though the EU and UK have sanctions in place on most wood products, they omit some key products. Meanwhile Japan, the US and Canada have not put into place any ban on wood products from Russia and Belarus.

 

Earthsight’s latest report revealed that over $1.2 billion of Russian plywood has been sold in the US since the conflict began, with profits funneling directly to Putin’s allies, and  possibly helping to fund Russia’s military.

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The article is a useful summary of the existing sanctions put into place on Russian and Belarus timber products.

 

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December 20, 2022
Traders Are Sneaking Banned Russian and Belarusian Wood Into the EU By Pretending It’s From Central Asia

Not long after imposing sanctions on wood imports from Russia and Belarus, Europe saw an influx of wood supposedly coming from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Authorities say sanctions-busters are increasingly mislabeling wood as Central Asian so they can keep bringing it in to the EU.

Key findings:

Traders are evading European Union sanctions on Russian and Belarussian wood by declaring that it really comes from Central Asia.

Customs in Lithuania and Latvia are scrambling to keep up with the sudden influx of timber with suspect paperwork from Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan.

Reporters found several Kyrgyz and Belarusian companies that offered false paperwork so traders could ship banned Belarusian wood to the EU.

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March 24, 2022
Supply chain warned Russian timber imports ‘could be illegal’

Timber chiefs have warned that imports of the material from Russia or Belarus could now be deemed illegal in the UK. The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) told its members that purchases from suppliers in the ostracised nations could fall foul of regulations initially coming into force nine years ago in part to tackle illegal logging abroad.

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March 9, 2022
FSC and PEFC ban Russian and Belarusian wood

FSC and PEFC have barred wood and timber from Russia and Belarus from their certified products, as a host of other industry suppliers go public with their stance against Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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March 1, 2022
The EU has imposed sanctions on Belarus for its role supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including a ban on imports of wood and timber products.

EU imports of forest products from Belarus increased by 432% over the last decade (2011), yielding US$8.7 billion in revenue. As imports grew, so did the EU’s market share. 55% all reported forest product imports from Belarus went to the EU. As such, sanctions have the potential to cut off over half of Belarus’s timber revenues. The aim of sanctions is to put pressure on governments and individuals, thus using financial leverage to promote rule of law, democracy, and a respect for human rights. The EU’s sanctions against Belarus could be effective, if robustly implemented.

More...
Key Resources
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Export Restrictions
Click here to download a database of forest policy export restrictions.