EXPECTED INCREASE IN THE RUSSIAN TIMBER TARIFF
There are no signs that the planned Russian timber duty increase to 50 euros per cubic meter from 1 January 2011 will be postponed said the Swedish Minister for Trade Ewa Björling when she spoke to the Swedish news agency Direkt. Bjorling refers to a recent meeting with the nordic trade ministers in Iceland in the beginning of November.
The nordic region have 25m citizens and a combined GDP of $1.6 trillion, making it one of the world’s 12 biggest economies. The Foreign Ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden met in Reykjavik on 3 November 2010 for their biannual meeting to discuss matters of common interest in the area of foreign affairs and security policy. The Russian wood tariffs are currently about 15 euros per cubic meter and Russia planned a long time to raise tariffs to 50 euros per cubic meter already from 1 January 2009. But in November 2008, the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin postponed the increase and announced the increase to
50 euros per cubic meter would be delayed 9-12 months.
The announced increase will instead be carried out to the end of the year and so far there are no signs that the increase will be postponed annother time. The issue of the Russian wood tariffs are becoming increasingly infected issue in the ongoing negotiations on Russia's accession to the WTO, negotiations that could be completed by June next year.
The Swedish Trade Minister is very clear that Sweden and Finland will pursue the issue of wood tariffs hard during the WTO negotiations and she notes that the duty goes completely against the idea of WTO accession for Russia. The companies affected are mainly those that no have own forest resources and must import from Russia. Primarily, the Finnish forest companies like Stora Enso, M-real and UPM are affected by the Russian wood tariffs. "If the Russian customs duties were removed entirely, it would obviously affect the supply and price level overall in the Nordic region", says Billerud CEO Per Lindberg to the news agency Direkt.