In June, Russia abolished periodic customs declaration of wood and wood products (TN VED 44). The aim of the change is to increase the transparency of the forest sector and tighten control on wood exports. The notification procedure used for periodic customs declaration has created a possibility for illegal wood exports. In addition, the change is justified by the difficulty for the customs authorities to determine the exact export volumes in periodic customs declaration. According to the analysis of Russian customs, currency regulations have also been violated when part of the wood export revenues have not been returned.

The Finnish Forest Industries Federation states that the above-mentioned problems do not occur in the wood trade between Finland and Russia. The regulation is found to be contrary to the spirit of the jointly agreed WTO commitments. Russian exporters interviewed by Whatwood say the change has reduced wood exports. A separate customs declaration for each consignment of wood increases the time spent on customs formalities, reduces the utilization rate of transport equipment and increases costs accordingly. In Karelia, for example, for periodic customs declaration, an annual advance declaration was sufficient and the realised export volumes were reported at regular intervals.

Sources: Background memo of the Government DecreePostanovlenie Pravitelstva 21.5.2020 N 721, Finnish Forest Industries FederationRussian Wood Resources Report 6-2020Rossiiskaja Gazeta