Bypassing sanctions, timber from Belarus reaches Europe through Poland

Bypassing sanctions, timber from Belarus reaches Europe through Poland
Bypassing sanctions, timber from Belarus reaches Europe through Poland

Despite the sanctions of Western countries, timber from Belarus still goes to Lithuania and other countries of the European Union (EU) via Poland, according to the analysis carried out by the Belarusian Research Center in cooperation with the Polish newspaper “Gazeta Wyborcza”.

The research found that the official export of timber from Kazakhstan to Poland increased fivefold last year from 14 million euros to less than 68 million euros.

In general, more than 120 million euros worth of timber reached the EU market from third countries via Poland, Stanislav Ivaškevičs, head of the Belarusian Research Center, told Lithuanian Public Radio on Tuesday. He explained that part of its imported timber also ends up in Lithuania.

As Ivaškevičs presented, timber from third countries is checked at the Polish border, but there is no further control of it in the EU, therefore timber imported by circumventing sanctions ends up in Lithuania, although the state enforces sanctions more effectively than other countries and blocks the import of suspicious timber.

However, the authors of the study admit that the export of timber from Belarus to the EU has significantly decreased – before the introduction of sanctions, it exceeded one billion euros.

Timber from Belarus is sent “through Kazakhstan” and is actually imported from Belarus with forged documents, as evidenced by the documents analyzed by the study’s authors, Ivashkevich said.

“A timber transporter from Belarus clearly told us over the phone that the timber comes from Belarus and not from Kazakhstan. The transporter from Kazakhstan assured us that he [Baltkrievijas] the company is known to have contacted and signed a memorandum, but then the company disappeared and the business failed. We can imagine that all this company needed was a contractor from Kazakhstan to be able to put fake stamps everywhere,” Ivashkevich said.

As he said, new ways to circumvent sanctions have also emerged, as it is no longer necessary to register companies that are exempt from value added tax (VAT), “now it is only necessary to complete the paperwork and it works on the Polish border”.

The article is in Latvian


Tags: Bypassing sanctions timber Belarus reaches Europe Poland


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