China is not buying out Lithuanian lumber2013-10-10
With the approach of the bi-annual roundwood lumber selling auctions, discussions regarding the export of roundwood lumber from the nation's national forests are heating up. Some suggest that too much roundwood lumber is being exported from Lithuania and that the nation's lumber processors do not have enough lumber available. The Ministry of Environment would like to inform you that this is not true.
Over the last 10 years, state forest enterprises have sold almost three times less lumber to companies exporting lumber from Lithuania.
It must be mentioned that 9 percent of available roundwood lumber remained unpurchased in the auctions for long-term and half-year contracts held by state forest enterprises over the last 6 months.
According to Statistics Lithuania, Lithuania exports less of its lumber than Latvia and Estonia do. Our nation also has the smallest ratio between total roundwood lumber production and export.
Information appeared in the press indicating that much of Lithuania's lumber is being exported to China. We would like to inform you that, at this time, only about 3 percent of the roundwood lumber being produced in Lithuania is being exported to China.
“China is certainly interested in our lumber, but not too much. China is still one of the smallest Lithuanian lumber exporters. More Lithuanian lumber is exported to our neighbors in Latvia, Poland and Sweden. The main reason for which foreign nations are interested in our lumber is the price. Lumber is less expensive on the Lithuanian market than it is in neighboring nations. Everyone's looking for where they can get lumber for less,” said Vice-minister of Environment Linas Jonauskas.
According to the vice-minister, offers to sell Lithuanian lumber to local producers first and only then to foreign companies, while attractive, would conflict with national competition laws and European Union laws. This is why all efforts made to reduce the amount of foreign buyers by creating better roundwood lumber purchasing conditions for local producers have failed. It is important to note that the implementation of laws discriminating against certain lumber-purchasing groups may prompt financial sanctions against Lithuania. For example, in 2011, Poland's national forest organizations were forced to change their regulations and pay a 1.5 million zloty fine for passing similar competitive limits.
In support of the processing of roundwood lumber and the creation of additional value within our nation, the Ministry of Environment would like to encourage lumber processors to make use of the roundwood lumber trade rules allowing them to form long-term (up to 10 years) contracts. These contracts would ensure that our national forests provide them with the roundwood lumber they need.
Puiblic Information Division