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Origin of wood imports

Table 3.8 presents data on the source of selected wood products that have been imported into the UK in 2018.

Sawn softwood, particleboard, fibreboard, and paper and paperboard were overwhelmingly imported from EU countries in 2018 (Table 3.8):

  • Sweden (41%), Latvia (17%) and Finland (14%) provided the majority of imports of sawn softwood to the UK.
  • Most particleboard imports to the UK came from Germany (20%), France (17%), Ireland and Belgium (both 14%).
  • Ireland (31%), Germany (18%), Spain (11%) and Belgium (10%) were the principal sources of fibreboard imports.
  • Most paper and paperboard imports came from Germany (18%), Finland and Sweden (both 17%).

Sawn hardwood and wood pulp imports originated from a range of both EU and non-EU countries in 2018:

  • The USA (16%), Estonia (14%) and France (10%) provided around two fifths of sawn hardwood imports to the UK.
  • Sweden (29%) and Brazil (18%) provided almost one half of wood pulp imports to the UK.

The vast majority of UK imports of plywood and wood pellets came from countries outside the EU in 2018:

  • China (39%) and Brazil (16%) were the principal sources of plywood imports to the UK.
  • The USA (61%) and Canada (19%) provided the majority of wood pellet imports to the UK.

Table 3.8 Country of origin of wood imports to the UK, 2018

Source Sawn1 softwood Sawn1 hardwood Plywood Particle-board Fibre-board Pellets Wood pulp Paper and paperboard
per cent of total UK imports (volume) in each category        
Sweden 41 1 1 0 1 0 29 17
Germany 7 4 1 20 18 0 4 18
Finland 14 1 8 0 1 0 7 17
Latvia 17 8 2 12 8 11 0 0
France 0 10 1 17 1 0 0 8
Netherlands 0 3 0 0 0 0 13 4
Ireland 6 3 0 14 31 0 0 1
Italy 0 8 1 3 0 0 0 4
Austria 0 1 2 1 0 0 12 3
Belgium 1 1 1 14 10 0 0 3
Portugal 0 0 0 8 1 3 1 2
Spain 0 0 1 5 11 0 3 1
Estonia 2 14 0 0 0 3 0 0
Other EU-28 4 7 1 5 6 0 0 3
Total EU-28 94 61 19 99 90 18 70 81
USA 0 16 0 0 0 61 4 4
Canada 1 3 1 0 0 19 0 2
China 0 0 39 0 2 0 0 1
Brazil 0 1 16 0 3 0 18 1
Russia 5 1 8 1 3 2 0 1
Norway 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 4
Malaysia 0 3 5 0 0 0 0 0
Cameroon 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other non-EU 0 5 12 0 2 0 6 6
Total non-EU 6 39 81 1 10 82 30 19

Source: UK overseas trade statistics (HM Revenue & Customs), industry associations.

Notes:

1.  Sawnwood imports in this table exclude sleepers.

Figure 3.2 shows the main sources of imports of sawn softwood to the UK since 1962. The total level of sawn softwood imports has fluctuated between around 5 million m3 and 10 million m3 from 1962 to present.  Imports to the UK from Canada have reduced substantially since the early 1990s.  In contrast imports from the Baltic States increased between 1992 and 2003 and, although there was some decline between 2003 to 2012, imports from the Baltic States to the UK have started to increase again in recent years.  Since 1993 Sweden has consistently been the principal country of origin for UK sawn softwood imports.

Figure 3.2 Country of origin of sawn softwood1 imports to the UK, 1962-2018

Fig 3.1.png

Source: FAO, UK overseas trade statistics (HM Revenue & Customs), industry associations.

Notes:

1.  Sawn softwood imports in this chart exclude sleepers.

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Sources chapter: Trade

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