Belarus Seeks Alternatives to Overcome Sanctions on Timber and Wood Products

This Spring, when countries in the West applied sanctions on Belarus for its participation in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Belarusian government acted as if those sanctions would have little to no impact. Those sanctions are now slowly but steadily having a substantial impact on all Belarusian industries, and the country’s import-substitution response to the sanctions has caused a major reconstructing of the domestic marketplace.

Belarusian officials continue to downplay the impact of Western sanctions and say that Minsk’s import-substitution program is running smoothly. However, the fact that the export program is now being reoriented towards the domestic market—which in turn has required a major restructuring of the timber industry market, with losses in profitability and additional administrative costs being borne by the heads of regional governors—paints a much different picture.

Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Parkhomchik told state media on September 5th that Belarusian forest companies would attempt to exploit the EU’s energy crisis by exporting pellets to the EU market. Parkhomchik said he thought that “there will be private companies that will build bridges so that products we produce could enter the European market.” Perhaps the hope is that the EU would reconsider sanctions on Belarussian wood products classified under the HS chapter 44 in light of its energy crisis.

The new way of marketing domestic forest products, as well as the decision to lower prices on industrial timber and other wood products, is a direction result of Western sanctions. It is also a sign that Belarus is having significant problems with offsetting its exports.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.