Original anti-dumping action against Russia

Our Consortium comprises the vast majority of birch plywood producers in Europe. It is a fact that for some time our industry has been deeply concerned about significant increases in volume of Russian birch plywood being sold at extremely low prices into the our home market, the EU.

Of course, our Russian competitors will to some extent benefit from their country’s vast birch forests, but they also benefited from significant government intervention over time (including a ban on birch log exports in the first half of 2018, which continued to impact prices of that raw material in Russia through 2020), government supports of plywood factory expansion and lax enforcement of logging practices.

All these practices over time enabled Russian producers to expand production capacity significantly and ultimately to sell their birch plywood into the EU at prices that were so low that they drove some European firms out of business as they aimed to capture market share irrespective of the cost of production. In short, they were proven to be dumping their product to such a degree that it was injuring the otherwise healthy EU industry and threatened to drive it out of business.

The scale of this was staggering. Between 2019 and 2021, Russia’s plywood industry launched capacity expansion projects to the tune of around €2 billion, with the goal to raise annual output by 2 million m3, this being an almost 50% increase on capacity of 5.2 million m3 at the outset. Most of the increased production would have ended up in the internationally profitable European market has the Woodstock Consortium not acted by complaining under international trade laws to the EU about this state of affairs that was threatening to demolish an otherwise healthy competitor.

The European Commission confirmed the unfair practices in December 2020 and imposed protective tariffs on all imports of Russian birch plywood of up to 15.8%.

In the absence of such counter-measures, known as “anti-dumping duties”, the European Union birch plywood industry could have gone out of business, with the resultant loss of employment and investment, particularly in rural areas.

Current Activity

Once the EU imposed the duties, the Woodstock Consortium noticed several serious instances of Russian industry trying to get around them. The simplest way was to try to import their product without the duties and pass it off as originating from other countries.

The Consortium therefore filed a formal Request in July 2023 with the Commission providing them with prima facie evidence, and numerous real-world examples, of attempts to go around duties and sanctions imposed by the European Commission against the Russian exporting producers.

The Consortium welcomed the fact that in August 2023 the EU opened its own formal investigation of the likely circumvention by Russian Producers and Importers of existing EU anti-dumping measures against imports of birch plywood from Russia. At this stage the Commission is investigating if imports from Kazakhstan and Türkiye originate in these two countries or not.

The Consortium particularly welcomes that as from August 2023 all imports of such plywood from Kazakhstan and Türkiye are to be registered on crossing EU borders. This registration will allow the Commission retroactively to apply extended anti-dumping duties to those found to be going around the EU duties imposed on Russian imports.

By taking this action, the EU is sending another strong signal to all stakeholders of its will to enforce the duties it imposes and determination to act against those found to be going around its decisions, especially so also at a time that Russian wood imports more widely have also been sanctioned by the EU due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine launched in February 2022. Please see Woodstock’s Press Releases in the Media section of this website for more details on all of the above.