Meeting of experts and discussion about violation of EU regulations on the example of illegal import of plywood from Russia and Belarus

On May 22, 2024, a webinar titled “The Risk of Consequences for Violating EU Regulations: The Case of Illegal Plywood Imports from Russia and Belarus – How to Protect Your Company?” was organized by the Employers of Poland and the Association of Wood-Based Panels Producers in Poland. The event focused on key issues related to the Polish wood industry and the challenges posed by illegal plywood imports from Russia and Belarus. The webinar attracted many participants interested in current problems and the future of the wood industry in Poland and the European Union.

Speakers and Their Positions

The webinar was led by the following experts:

  • Aleksandra Balkiewicz-Żerek – Expert at PKO BP
  • Jarosław Michniuk – Member of the Board, European Panel Federation (EPF)
  • Bartosz Bezubik – Vice President, Association of Wood-Based Panels Producers in Poland (SPPDwP)
  • Tomasz Darowski – Partner, and Michalina Woźny – Senior Tax Consultant at Domański, Zakrzewski, Palinka (DZP)
  • Magdalena Kicińska – Head of Communications at Paged Morąg and Paged Sklejka

Topics Covered

The webinar discussed the situation in the Polish wood industry and its impact on the country’s economy, the scale of illegal plywood imports from Russia and Belarus into the European Union, EU steps and legislation on this matter, the impact of illegal plywood imports on Polish companies, and the legal consequences of violating regulations for board members, purchasing directors, and companies using plywood as a raw material.

Webinar Proceedings and Topics Discussed

The webinar was opened by Magdalena Kicińska, who emphasized the importance of the wood industry for the Polish economy and presented the meeting’s agenda.

  1. The Situation in the Polish Wood Industry and Its Impact on the Country’s Economy

Aleksandra Balkiewicz-Żerek presented detailed data on the Polish wood industry, which is a significant sector in the economy. She highlighted its substantial contribution to employment and company revenues. Poland is a leader in furniture exports in the European Union and one of the leading producers and exporters of wood-based panels globally.

  1. Illegal Imports of Russian and Belarusian Plywood into the European Union

Jarosław Michniuk discussed the problem of illegal plywood imports from Russia and Belarus, which intensified after sanctions were imposed on these countries. He explained how Kazakhstan became the largest supplier of plywood to Poland in 2023, indicating the circumvention of sanctions. Michniuk emphasized that the lower price of plywood imported from Kazakhstan and China negatively affects the competitiveness of European producers.

  1. The Impact of Illegal Plywood Imports on Polish Companies

Bartosz Bezubik explained how illegal imports affect Polish companies. The lower prices of products from Russia and Belarus destabilize the market, reducing the profitability of Polish producers and leading to job losses and investment cuts. Bezubik pointed out the need for increased control measures and strict adherence to sanctions.

  1. Discussion of the Legal Consequences of Violating EU Regulations

Tomasz Darowski and Michalina Woźny from DZP discussed the legal consequences of non-compliance with EU sanctions. They explained the sanctions regulations and the legal, financial, and reputational risks for companies importing illegal products. They stressed that the sanctions include both import bans and the obligation to verify the source of raw materials.

Q&A Session

During the Q&A session, participants asked a total of 15 questions, mainly concerning the identification of illegal suppliers, control procedures, and potential legal consequences for companies and their boards. The experts answered in detail, highlighting the necessity of implementing appropriate remedial measures and enhancing international cooperation to eliminate illegal trade.

Key Takeaways

  1. The wood industry in Poland is crucial for the economy, and Poland is one of the leaders in exports within the European Union.
  2. Illegal imports of plywood from Russia and Belarus destabilize the market, threatening Polish producers and reducing competitiveness.
  3. Strict adherence to sanctions and increased import control are essential to prevent circumvention of regulations.
  4. Companies must be aware of the legal consequences of violating EU regulations, including financial, legal, and reputational risks.
  5. International cooperation and appropriate actions at the EU level are key in the fight against illegal wood trade.

The webinar concluded with thanks to the speakers and participants. The recording of the event is available on YouTube at the link:


We invite you to watch and share your opinions and questions in the comments.