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PM Links Russian Wood Tariffs with Greenhouse Emission Goals

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has linked Russia's export tariffs on raw wood with Finland's goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Vanhanen says that if wood imports from Russia dry up, Finland will have between 3 and 4 percentage points less renewable energy available to it.

The situation might force Finland to cut back on its EU commitment for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

In his weekly briefing on EU matters, Vanhanen urged Russia to gradually come up with a solution to the wood tariff problem. He notes that a large proportion of Finland's renewable energy is wood, and the Finnish forest industry gets about one fifth of its raw material from Russia.

The Russian government, hoping to encourage the development of its own wood processing industry, has decided to impose heavy export tariffs on exports of raw timber, potentially causing serious problems for Finnish paper manufacturers.

Vanhanen said on Friday that if one fifth of the wood used by Finnish industry falls away, it will have a dramatic effect on the reduction of greenhouse gases.

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