Russian lumber duty quotas
Reduced Russian export duty for the import of spruce and pine logs into the EU
When Russia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 22 August 2012, it implemented two tariff quotas. In them, the reduced export duty on pine logs is 15 per cent and 13 per cent on spruce logs. For traditional importers the quota reserved is 70 per cent and for other importers 30 per cent. The annual quota levels are as follows:
|Tariff quota||Russia’s tariff code||EU quota|
How to apply for a quota authorisation
The quota authorisation is applied for with
- Customs form 859s (in Finnish)
- Completion instructions to form 859s (including a specimen of the affidavit, in Finnish).
The applications form regarding a quota authorisation can be sent by email to puutullit(at)tulli.fi (the application and affidavit signed and scanned).
The application can also be sent by post to Customs:
Foreign Trade and Taxation Department
Customs Clearance Unit
PO Box 512
The applicant must attach the following to the application for quota authorisation
- a copy of the contract or pre-contract and
- an affidavit confirming that the imported wood will be processed within the EU within one year from the date of the release of the goods for free circulation.
On request, the importer must be able to prove that the imported quantity has been processed in this way.
In the quota authorisation for spruce, all three tariff codes (EU) for spruce are registered in the authorisation and correspondingly all three tariff codes are registered in the quota authorisation for pine. However, in practice the applicant should also enter the Russian tariff codes for the wood in the application. The quota authorisations are made for a quantity corresponding to these Russian codes (one quota authorisation for one Russian tariff code), since Russia’s export-licence is always granted to correspond to one quota authorisation granted by the EU.
Points to consider
Russia opens annual quotas, and has reserved a separate quota for the EU. This quota EU splits between importers through the quota authorisation system. The quotas are split between traditional and new importers. The company can import lumber at least in a quantity reaching the quota ceiling. A new importer can apply for no more than 1.5 per cent of the tariff quota per product group (spruce of pine).
The Commission validates the tariff quota for a traditional importer during spring. The tariff ceiling is calculated based on the declared average imports of the two previous quota periods. For example, the quota ceiling for 2021 is based on the imports during the quota periods 2018 and 2019. The traditional importer generally gets at least the same quantity as a new importer, but:
- If the actual import of lumber by a traditional importer is zero for one type of wood, then the quota ceiling for that type of wood is also zero.
The quota ceiling granted to a company is the quota guaranteed to the company. However, a traditional importer still has to apply for the quota authorisation to be able to take advantage of their share.
The licensing authorities of the Member States grant quota authorisations based on the quantities in the contracts or pre-contracts attached to the application. The applicant submits the quota authorisation to the Russian contracting party, who in turn delivers the quota authorisation to the Russian export licensing authority as an attachment to the export licence application.
The Russian licensing authority may require an apostille certificate from a notary public in Finland regarding the quota authorisation and a translation in Russian, validated by a Russian notary public. The export licence is presented at Russian Customs and thereby the company can take advantage of the reduced export duty.
The time of application for the quota period 2020 opens on 1 October 2019 and closes on 1 December 2020.
The export licence must be applied for from Russian authorities on 15 December 2020 at the latest.
During the quota period until 31 May (first part of the quota period), the quota is split between traditional importers and new importers.
After this, beginning 1 June (second part of the quota period), both traditional importers and new importers apply from the same quota, if there is any quota left to divide.
In the first part of the 2020 quota period, the traditional importer can apply for a quantity that corresponds to their quota ceiling.
A new importer can apply for no more than 1.5 per cent of the tariff quota per product group, i.e. 89.409 m³ of spruce and 54.688 m³ of pine. These quantities include bark.
In the second part of the quota period, all importers can apply for no more than 5 per cent of the remaining quota per product group.
The importer must declare, to the licensing office of the Member State that granted the quota authorisation (in Finland, Customs), how much lumber the company has imported into the EU territory. If the lumber is imported to another EU country than Finland, a customs declaration must be attached to the report. A free-form signed declaration on the actual imported quantities must be sent to Customs within 15 days of the end of a three-month period; 15 January, 15 April, 15 July and 15 October.
If the quota authorisation quantity includes bark and the quantity in the customs declaration has been entered as excluding bark, the importer must declare the quantity to the licensing office as including bark. The correct quantities are calculated using the correction coefficient confirmed in Annex 3 of Regulation 498/2012.
If the quota authorisation remains unused after six months of its issue, the importer must either return it to Customs, or with a free-form and signed letter notify Customs of the intention to use the quota authorisation in the time left of the quota period.
If the quota authorisation has been granted before the beginning of a quota period (1.10 – 31.12), the six-month time limit is calculated as beginning on 1 January of the corresponding year. Customs notifies the Commission of returned quota authorisations and the Commission then changes the maximum quantity left to be used by the traditional importer.
The importer provides a Sworn Declaration in cases where an unused quota authorisation cannot be recovered from the Russian authorities. (That is, an export licence has been granted in Russia, but has not been used.) Regulation 2016/623 shows what the Sworn Declaration should look like.
If the quota authorisation, which has not been returned within six months of its issuing, is still unused when the quota period ends, the traditional importer’s quota ceiling is reduced correspondingly.
Where the actual imports by a traditional importer during the quota period are less than 75 % of the quantities covered by all quota authorisations for a product group granted to such importer during the same quota period, the importer's import ceilings, for the product group concerned during the quota period, will be reduced by an amount proportional to the size of missing actual imports.
- Commission’s webpage, where current quotas are monitored
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 498/2012
- THT 42/1.6.2016: Changes to the quota system of Russian spruce and pine (in Finnish)
- Commission Regulation 2016/623, amending Implementing Regulation 498/2012 on the tariff quota system of Russian wood
- Protocol between the EU and Russia