Shady imports

Tuesday 19 April 2023. – If you buy drugs, you probably understand that it’s illegal and it’s imported. A buyer doesn’t spend time wondering which laboratory the powder is coming from. On the street corners, cash and merchandise are exchanged, but not certificates of origin.

If you buy plywood, it is often imported but rarely illegal. In 2022, Russian plywood imports into the EU became illegal.

In contrast to drugs, people seldom have an addiction to plywood. However, some companies desperately need birch plywood to manufacture their products. Should they ask where the material is coming from? Should they ask for further proof, if the source is new or unusual?

Drug smuggling has existed as long as the opium trade became forbidden. The smuggling methods are many and they develop constantly. Illegal plywood trade to the EU is less than one year old, but already now many ways to hide the origin have emerged. 

Illegal drug imports seem impossible to eliminate. As long as there is demand for drugs, smuggling continues. The same might be true with illegal plywood imports. 

Is it impossible to detect the false plywood origin? Should the control give up? Well, no. Hell, no. The sanctions have no meaning if they are not obeyed. These are the market conditions at the moment and Russian plywood is banned from the EU market. Period. Illegal imports foster uneven competition. There will be a time somewhere in the future that the sanctions will be called off, but until then we play by these rules. 

Stopping illegal plywood imports isn’t easy, but there is no reason to give up. The plywood trade shall not be a shady business.