Additional duties on Russian and Belarusian timber

Today, additional duties on a number of goods originating in Russia and Belarus will come into force.

From this morning (25 March), an additional 35% duty is applicable to all wood and wood products (plus many other products) of Russian and Belarusian origin.

This includes all wood products currently paying duty such as Plywood or OSB but also all non-dutiable products such as logs, sawn wood and engineered wood products including Glulam.

There is an exemption for Russian and Belarusian goods that have already left Russia and Belarus before the additional duties take effect on 25 March. The goods must have completed Russian or Belarusian export formalities and left those territories before 25 March.

This should mean any goods currently in Europe awaiting onwards shipment to the UK should be exempt if they can show evidence they completed Russian or Belarusian export formalities before 25th March.

For Russian/Belarusian goods that are coming to the UK via the EU being able to use a REX number to be able to declare the goods as of EU origin becomes even more critical in these circumstances.

However, the rules of origin contained in the UK/EU Trade and Co-Operation agreement do not always allow goods that are coming via the EU to be declared as of EU origin. It very much depends on the type and value of processing that is carried out in the EU. Rules or Origin information here.

This is particularly important for products like sawn wood because previously they were duty free regardless of whether they came direct from Russia/Belarus or via the EU.

Now if sufficient processing has been carried out on those sawn goods to allow a EU manufacturer to add a REX number to the invoice then progress through UK customs should be easy. But, if only minimal processing has been carried and EU origin cannot be justifiably claimed then the goods have to be declared at the UK border as Russian/Belarusian and will need to show they exited these countries before 25th March 2022.

I would suggest members talk to their customs clearance agents to find out what evidence they will need to offer UK Customs in these circumstances.

More information can be found on the government website here.