The Finnish forest industry annually imports an average of 10 million cubic metres of wood raw material from the Baltic Sea region for its facilities in Finland. The forest industry knows where the roundwood comes from and that the wood is from a legal source. Responsible procurement is the foundation of operations and it is guaranteed through companies’ own internal verification systems as well as via certification systems. Wood is mostly imported from Russia, the Baltic countries and Sweden. Russia still accounts for the largest share, approximately 80%. Russia joined the WTO in autumn 2012 after which wood export duties were lowered. Russia’s share of imports is growing. The most important timber grades imported from Russia are softwood woodchip and birch pulpwood.
There are reasons for importing wood from Russia. The forest industry has industrial facilities near the border and some of the wood procurement areas extend to the Russian side of the border. Furthermore, Finnish forest industry companies have leased forests and established harvesting operations in Russia, which supply raw material for mills in Finland as well as the industry’s units in Russia. Woodchip from Finnish-owned sawmills in Russia is imported to Finland for pulp production because demand in Russia is weak. Woodchip from neighbouring facilities is also transported to Finland.
It is a known fact that there is an oversupply of birch pulpwood in northwest Russia and that Finland has a shortage of this timber grade. Naturally, the market situation is balanced by birch imports that are part of the cross-border timber trade. The free movement of raw materials supports the industry on both sides of the border. This boosts the efficiency and international competitiveness of our forest industry in the northern boreal forest zone.