For the first time since 2012 and 2013, the duty-free quota for softwood plywood imports into the EU-27 will likely last into July this year. In 2012, the quota – which then stood at 650,000 m³ - was not filled until 24 July. In 2013, the last plywood was granted duty-free status on 12 July. In subsequent years, the quota was typically exhausted in May and June. In 2018 and 2019, duty-free imports had only been possible into April (16 June 2014, 28 May 2015, 17 May 2016, 26 May 2017, 23 April 2018, 1 April 2019, 13 May 2020). This year, the quota – which had been cut to 482,648 m³ because of Brexit – has been used up much more slowly.
This turn of events was mainly due to much higher exports to the US, limited supply as a result, and thus extreme price hikes. According to statistics from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union, 407,649 m³ or 84% of the quota had been used up by 8 June: 144,000 m³ in January, roughly 60,000 m³ each in February and March, about 70,000 m³ in April and 65,000 m³ in May. Another 10,000 m³ or so had been imported against the quota in the first eight days of June – leaving 74,999 m³ available.