Russia's accession to WTO on July 21 will lower export duties on Russian logs, improve position of Finnish forest products on Russian market through reduced import duties, says Finnish Forest Industries Federation

HELSINKI , July 23, 2012 (press release) – Russia's ratification of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession agreement on July 21 improves corporate access to the Russian market.

Membership will lead to lower export duties on Russian raw timber and reduced import duties will improve the position of Finnish forest industry products on the Russian market.

Russia's WTO membership will enter into force within 30 days, once the World Trade Organisation processes and approves the accession agreement now ratified by the Russians. Membership will immediately cut timber export duties and thus lower the cost of exporting raw timber from Russia to Finland. The euro amount of the softwood export duty will be halved and hardwood duties will be cut to one quarter of their present amount. Pine and spruce will in future be imported to the EU market and Finland as part of a quota totalling 9.5 million cubic metres.

Some €190 million's worth of raw timber was imported to Finland from Russia last year. If applied to the present makeup of imports, the revised duties would cut the Finnish forest industry's annual wood procurement costs by about €20 million.

Position of Finnish paper and paperboard products to improve in Russia

The import duties Russia levies on paper and paperboard products will reduce by five percent over a four-year transition period. Lower duties will improve the position of Finnish forest industry products in relation to local goods in the growing Russian market.

Last year's Finnish paper and paperboard exports to Russia were valued at €490 million. Applied to the present structure of trade, the revised customs charges would cut import duties by about €30 million after the transition period.

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