A reduction in Russian log export tariffs that caused China to import more North American logs in recent years is not predicted to raise Russia’s log export volumes back to historic levels, said Wood Resource Quarterly in an article released today.
The reduction in tariffs is not expected to bring foreign log buyers rushing back to Russia in the country, however, as political uncertainty, corruption, infrastructure problems, and increasing domestic log costs have done little to create an enticing business environment.
The reduction comes as part of Russia’s acceptance into the World Trade Organization, which occurred in December. According to the article, the country originally implemented a log export tariff of 25% in 2008, which caused exports to fall off dramatically in the years since.
“According to persons close to the negotiation process, the not yet official proposal for the amendment of the Russian log export tariff system will lower the tariffs on softwood logs from 25% to 15% for pine logs, and to 13% for spruce logs,” the article said.
According to the article, even China, the largest importer of Russian softwood logs, is choosing to import lumber rather than logs.
The proposal also includes a volume quota for softwood logs in which the new tariffs will apply below the quota limit and the 2008 tariff levels will apply for volumes above the quota.
The quotas are not forecast to have any affect on trade between Russia and European Union member since the quotas are much higher than amounts exported in recent years. Russian softwood log exports to China in 2011 were also well below the proposed quota limit.