RIGA - The European Commission has opened an investigation into suspected circumvention of anti-dumping duties for birch plywood products produced in Russia which have entered the European Union market, as joint-stock plywood maker Latvijas Finieris told LETA.
In the course of the investigation, the Commission intends to cooperate with the Woodstock Consortium, various associations and companies based in the EU, including Latvijas Finieris, which together with Paged Group were the initiators of the investigation and are members of the Woodstock Consortium.
The main objective of the investigation launched by the Commission is to identify the companies involved in the potential infringements.
According to Latvijas Finieris, in 2021 anti-dumping duties were imposed on birch plywood products produced in Russia to protect EU producers against unfair trade practices. In 2022, in the wake of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, the Commission imposed sanctions against the aggressor country - preventing various product groups produced in Russia, including birch plywood, from being traded in the EU.
However, there are grounds to suspect that the anti-dumping duties and sanctions are circumvented through trade routes via Kazakhstan and Turkey, said Latvijas Finieris.
Following the imposition of sanctions, there has been a significant increase in imports of birch plywood from Russia into Turkey and, at the same time, the volumes of birch plywood imported from Turkey into the EU have increased. On the other hand, available export data on transactions between Kazakhstan and the EU show an increase in the volumes of birch plywood exported from Kazakhstan to the EU.
At the same time, neither Kazakhstan nor Turkey have ever been significant producers of birch plywood.
"We have confidence in the European Commission's ability to carry out a qualitative investigation that will be based on data and facts. We hope that all parties involved will actively cooperate with the European Commission and we also encourage consumers to be vigilant and report suspicious transactions to the European Commission or to us, Latvijas Finieris, in order to jointly ensure fair market competition conditions and we believe that this investigation will attract the attention of other responsible institutions for possible sanctions violations," commented Martins Lacis, member of the Executive Board of Latvijas Finieris.
Potential illegal activities both harm EU producers and finance Russia's brutal war in Ukraine. Maintaining fair market competition and cutting all direct and indirect trade links with the aggressor country is a priority for Latvijas Finieris.
As reported, Latvijas Finieris turned over EUR 351.2 million in 2022, an increase of 38.8 percent against a year before, while the company's profit grew 2.5 times year-on-year to EUR 29.7 million.
Latvijas Finieris, established in 1992, produces and sells birch plywood products and provides related services to its customers. Latvijas Finieris is also active in forest management, logging and production of synthetic resin and phenol films.