Russia migth impose ban on timber exports


Speaker in Russia’s State Duma, Boris Gryzlov, this week said parliament was ready to elaborate and adopt a new law on the total ban of all round timber exports.


During a visit to Irkutsk this week, Mr. Gryzlov said the recent raise of Russian export tariffs on timber has not helped stagger the transport of timber across the border to China. He ascribed the continuing timber trade to extensive smuggling. He believes only a total ban will be able to stop the illegal trade. Russia has over the last year strongly increased timber export tariffs. Next year, the tariffs will amount to 50 EUR per cubic meter, an increase of more than 100 percent compared with the original tariff level. The tariff policy has strongly hurt Finland which has been one of the biggest importers of Russian timber. Finnish paper and pulp industry has been forced to dismiss thousands of workers following the decreased access to raw materials. According to figures from the Russian Railways, railway transport across the Russian-Finnish border in 2007 dropped with as much as 23 percent, a decrease which can be ascribed first of all to the timber restrictions. The lower cross-border railway trade between Russia and Finland comes as the overall Russian export-import with railway sees a major growth (+5,6%), the magazine Transport reports.