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Belarus bypassed EU sanctions by smuggling timber via Poland with fake papers

Belarus bypassed EU sanctions by smuggling timber via Poland with fake papers

Posted on April 1, 2024   |  

Poland has become a new route for Belarusian timber, leading to a surge in imports that authorities were unprepared for.

The EU struggles to enforce sanctions, allowing Russian timber to enter through Belgium, while NGOs urge the US and Japan to stop trading in Russian timber.

Investigations by various organizations reveal a significant increase in Polish timber imports from Kazakhstan, part of global trade in conflict timber.

Allegations suggest Poland is now a key entry point for Belarusian timber, which saw €1 billion in exports in 2021 before sanctions.

Concerns are raised about Poland's oversight of customs declarations, highlighting potential gaps in monitoring.

Russia is now using Poland as a gateway to trade agricultural products into the EU, surpassing pre-war figures.

Before sanctions, 12% of EU timber imports came from Russia and Belarus, but now they use alternative routes through various countries to access Western markets.