UK importers risk breaking sanctions if they import birch plywood from outside EU; birch forests are concentrated in Northern Russia, Eurasia, and it is 'almost certain' birch in Far East plywood being offered originated in Russia: Timber Development UK

Sample article from our Wood & Building Products

LONDON , August 11, 2022 (press release) –

A worrying development has emerged in recent weeks as TDUK members have reported increasing offers of Birch Plywood coming from the far east, particularly China.

It has been nearly six months since Russia’s awful invasion of Ukraine, with few signs the conflict is going to abate anytime soon.

Though grain exports began to leave Ukraine this week for the first time since the war began, international sanctions on Russia remain very much in place.

Along with maritime sanctions and restrictions on Russian payments, the most significant sanction for our industry is the Russian timber import ban.

In short, this sanction prohibits the import, acquisition, supply and delivery of revenue on all wood products coming from Russia. This spans across all wood categories, and in particular, Birch Plywood, where significant volumes were exported to the UK prior to the conflict. Members can find more detail on the timber import ban in our recent trade note here.

Our recent market statement showed that the timber industry has responded to the Russia-Ukraine conflict by following sanctions and significantly reducing imports across all the main Russian import categories. There do, however, remain significant risks.

A worrying development has emerged in recent weeks as TDUK members have reported increasing offers of Birch Plywood coming from the far east, particularly China.

Given that Birch forests are concentrated in Northern Russia and Eurasia; it is almost certain the Birch contained in the Plywood being offered has in fact originated in Russia. This is for two reasons.

Firstly, China does not share the same view of the West regarding the Ukraine conflict. This means China has imposed no sanctions on Russia, with trade patterns continuing as they were prior to the conflict.

As well as this, the increasing isolation of the Russian economy has provided a business opportunity for many Chinese timber suppliers, with sanction-stricken products such as Russian Birch now becoming widely available for import and processing.

Despite the Birch Plywood being processed in China, any timber originating from Russia is now illegal to import into the UK or the EU. Any member or non-member who imports Birch Plywood from outside of the EU runs a high risk of being in breach of UK sanctions.

To tackle this, TDUK are writing directly to organisations offering to supply Birch Plywood from the Far East making them aware of both UK and EU sanctions. This letter template can be found here.

Additionally, we would ask members that receive such offers for Birch Plywood to reply with similar text as set out in this template letter here.

It is of pivotal importance that we ensure Russian timber products remain away from the UK market. Should these products be found in the UK/EU market, the importer and all customers who have purchased these products will be subject to legal action, fines and reputational damage which would also impact their trading partners in the manufacturing country.

If you have any questions on this, will be happy to help!

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

See our dashboard in action - schedule an demo
Jason Irving
Jason Irving
- SVP Enterprise Solutions -

We offer built-to-order wood & building products coverage for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation.

About Us

We deliver market news & information relevant to your business.

We monitor all your market drivers.

We aggregate, curate, filter and map your specific needs.

We deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.

Our Contacts

1990 S Bundy Dr. Suite #380,
Los Angeles, CA 90025

+1 (310) 553 0008

About Cookies On This Site

We collect data, including through use of cookies and similar technology ("cookies") that enchance the online experience. By clicking "I agree", you agree to our cookies, agree to bound by our Terms of Use, and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. For more information on our data practices and how to exercise your privacy rights, please see our Privacy Policy.