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Poland has become the main transit hub

'Illegally imported plywood concerns the entire European Union'

Recently, many reports have surfaced in the media regarding the plywood market situation in Poland. Jarosław Michniuk, President of the Management Board of European Panel Federation, explained on the situation in the plywood market, as well as illegal plywood imports from the East and their effects on Polish producers, in an article on Biznes Meble.


Since the end of 2018, Russia began dumping and significantly lowering prices on birch plywood in the European Union. In response to an official complaint, the European Commission initiated an anti-dumping investigation. As a result, additional duties were imposed on Russian products in 2021. At that time, the situation returned to normal.

In February 2022, when Russia attacked Ukraine, the assault led the European Commission to impose economic sanctions on Russia and Belarus. These sanctions came into effect effectively in July 2022. After this date, no plywood from Russia and Belarus should have reached the European market. However, according to estimates, there has been a great deal of smuggling of illegal goods from these countries.

Michniuk explains that the countries through which Russian plywood was smuggled in 2023 were Kazakhstan, Turkey, and China. These countries did not produce or sell birch plywood to a significant extent before the announcement of EU sanctions, as they do not have birch resources in their forests. He says that this wood cannot be used for the production of goods intended for the EU markets.

He further says that the illegally imported plywood concerns the entire European Union, however, that Poland has become the main transit hub to Europe. Out of nearly 130,000 m3 of birch plywood exported from Kazakhstan to the EU, almost 85,000 m3 ended up in Poland. The list of recipients in Poland includes 70 companies.

He says that Poland's plywood market is about 450,000 m3 annually. Domestic production is 250-270,000 m3. Most of the production and sales are deciduous plywood, mainly birch, while a smaller part is coniferous plywood. Polish companies have an export share of 60-70%, so, as easy to calculate, over 250,000 m3 of imports reaches the country annually, accounting for over 50% of the domestic market. These data are average values ​​from the past few years.

In August last year, the European Commission initiated an investigation into the situation of illegal importing. This investigation is against Kazakhstan and Turkey for circumventing anti-dumping duties imposed on Russia, namely the so-called transshipment of Russian plywood through these two countries into the European Union. Michniuk says the results of the Commission's investigation showed that such practices took place and were announced to the participants of the process a few days ago.

Polish companies need to be aware of these measures and consequences, and not evade the ban on using Russian and Belarusian wood (EUTR). For example, buyers of plywood from Kazakhstan or Turkey are supporting Russia's aggression in Ukraine. By filling the coffers of the Russian Federation and Belarus with hard currency, they are financing this terrible war.


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