Russia compromises on timber

Cross-border timber

Russia will drop its plans to boost export tariffs on round timber. That will please Finland and make the EU approve a speedy accession of Russia in the WTO.


Russia will not raise export tariffs on round timber in 2011 and will after its inclusion in the WTO abolish all the timber export duties, government sources told newspaper Kommersant. Such was the main result of a meeting between high-ranking officials from the EU and Russia in Brussels this week.

The softer stance on the timber issue is well perceived both in Brussels and in Helsinki. Finland’s Foreign Trade Minister, Paavo Väyrynen, says to YLE that he is satisfied with the deal, which will enable the two countries to continue their extensive timber trade.

As previously reported, Russia had already before the meeting in Brussels signaled that it was ready to compromise on the issue in order to get support for a quick accession to the WTO.

Read also: Rushing towards WTO membership, Russia signals compromise on timber

Russia originally intended to boost export tariffs on timber up to 50 EUR per cubic meter in a bid to stimulate domestic timber processing. However, after major criticism from Finland and Sweden, Russia agreed to postpone the move until January 2011. Now, the tariff plans are being abandoned and timber trade will after Russia’s inclusion in the WTO proceed without tariffs at all.

The timber export tariff today amounts to 15 EUR per cubic meter.