In 2019 the two founding members of the consortium, deeply concerned about rising volume of Russian birch plywood being sold at extremely low prices into the EU, set out to formally ask the European Commission to investigate the deteriorating situation in light of fair trade rules.

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

In the absence of such countermeasures, 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.

After the EU imposed the duties, the Woodstock Consortium and its supporters noticed serious instances of Russian industry trying to get around the duties above, principally by importing product through other countries that had no duty imposed, and passing it off as originating from those countries or elsewhere.

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

The Consortium welcomes that in August 2023 The European Commission again decided to investigate, this time focussing on 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, first of all 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 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.

This sends an irrefutable signal to all stakeholders of the EU that the Commission will act to enforce the duties it imposes and shows determination to act against those found to be going around its decisions, especially now that Russian wood imports more widely have also been sanctioned by the EU due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine launched in February 2022.

More information about the Commission’s anti-circumvention investigation.