The European Union imposed a ban on imports of Russian wood products as soon as the war of aggression began two years ago. In the opinion of the Finnish Sawmills Association, the EU should work more actively to engage like-minded democratic countries to work together on the sanctions front. In terms of wood products, Japan must join the sanctions front against Russia.

A new step must be taken in incapacitating Russia’s economy and its war machine. The European Union must make a concerted effort to convince Japan to end its imports of Russian wood products (sawn timber and glulam).

Japan is one of the most important timber product markets in the world, with a market size of roughly EUR 5 billion. Russia has traditionally been the world’s third-largest producer of sawn timber, right after the USA and Canada. According to 2023 figures, Russia has continued to hold a remarkable, nearly 15 per cent, market share in Japan.

“The European Union must systematically seek ways to support Ukraine. One such example would be to engage in active dialogue with like-minded democratic countries such as Japan. The goal should be to promptly cut Russian sawn timber flows to Japan. Japan is one of the most important markets in the world for the sawmilling industry, which presents major opportunities for warring Russia and its industry,” stresses Tino Aalto, Managing Director of the Finnish Sawmills Association.

The Finnish sawmilling industry is not alone in its demands. On the Finnish Sawmills Association’s initiative, the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) joined the demand to expand the sanctions. The European sawmill industry is taking the matter to the commissioner for trade and other key decision-makers.

“Finnish decision-makers can do Ukraine a service by actively promoting the debate on expanding sanctions. Realising this objective calls for action both in Finland and in the EU’s commission, councils and parliament,” states Aalto.

Japan is a major market for the Finnish sawmilling industry, in terms of both sawn timber and glulam. In 2023, Finland exported some 600,000 cubic metres of sawn timber and around 250,000 cubic metres of glulam to Japan. The value of Finnish timber products exported to Japan in 2023 was just under EUR 300 million, and in 2022 close to EUR 600 million.

Additional information:
Tino Aalto
Managing Director
Finnish Sawmills Association
+358 50 574 8713


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