According to Reuters, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently ordered restrictions or bans on the export and import of certain products and raw materials in 2022. There are currently more than 200 products banned from export, including forestry products and equipment, technology, telecommunications, medical, automotive, agricultural, electrical and technical equipment, containers, trains, rail vehicles and locomotives, turbines, and more. Russian officials said it was a “reasonable response to the sanctions imposed on Russia to ensure the normal functioning of key sectors of the Russian economy.”
Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov and Natural Resources Minister have proposed to ban the export of wood and wood-related products, such as raw materials for the production of paper and plywood, to “unfriendly countries” until the end of this year. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is expected to pass a corresponding government decree in the near future.
Hardwood lumber imports are critical to the U.S. market. TimberCheck, a timber resource company, said that in 2019, 54.4 percent of the hardwood plywood consumed by U.S. manufacturers was imported, with at least 10 percent of that hardwood plywood coming from Russia. An estimated 4.5 million cubic meters of hardwood plywood were consumed in the United States in 2019, but only 2.15 million cubic meters were produced. Therefore, to cover this deficit situation, imports are necessary.
Also in 2019, Russia overtook Canada as the world’s largest exporter of softwood lumber, which is mainly used in residential construction. By 2020, Russia already accounted for around 12% of the global timber export market. From this point of view, Russia’s move to ban some timber exports will undoubtedly have a certain impact on the global market.
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