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Birch plywood imports from Far East could be illegal

Birch plywood (Image: Dreamstime)
Birch plywood (Image: Dreamstime)

Birch plywood is likely to become scarce as summer progresses, but imports from the Far East could be illegal.

That’s the warning from the Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability working group.

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation, and Peter Caplehorn, CEO of the Construction Products Association, co-chair the group. They said that most wood products, including structural timber, are widely available.

However, the supply of other timber projects used in the joinery, shopfitting and finishing sectors is less certain.

Supplies from Russia and Belarus

That is because the industry relies on raw material supplies from Russia and Belarus, the most critical of which is birch plywood. Only a few countries outside Russia – mainly Finland – produce the product.

Illegal imports

While suppliers in the Far East could offer birch plywood to the UK market later in the year, the Product Availability group warned that it would be made from Russian birch logs, which would make it illegal to import amid sanctions against Russia due to its ongoing war with Ukraine.

Siberian larch cladding is also expected to disappear from the market, although the availability group said there were plenty of alternative cladding sources.

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