The Thuringian CDU member of the Bundestag, Albert Weiler, is calling for temporary export restrictions due to massive price increases and possibly even longer impending shortages in lumber.

The federal government doesn't think so.

It continues to rely on less drastic measures.

After wood prices rose by up to 700 percent last year, many craft businesses could no longer cover their costs despite full order books;

“It is already unaffordable for young families to have their own home because the prices of building materials have skyrocketed,” he added.

He calls for wood to be marketed in Germany first.

Export ban from January

Weiler referred to a new documentation of the Scientific Service of the Bundestag.

It feeds worries about prolonged shortages and points to factors that go beyond the consequences of the corona pandemic.

The bark beetle is spreading in Canada, an important supplier country for the USA, due to changed climatic conditions.

A response from the federal government is cited, according to which Russia's export ban on softwood logs from January 1, 2022 could reduce global supply and prices could stabilize at a higher level. “The development also expresses the increased appreciation of the raw material wood and is a sign of a functioning market. In the medium term, a higher price level will also have an impact on the improvement of the structure and management of the forests, ”the German government declared in June. Protectionist measures, such as export bans, could lead to trade disputes, disrupt international supply chains in the long term and increase prices in the medium term.

"It is not enough to hope that the market will stabilize itself again," criticized Weiler. Due to the Russian export ban on round wood, the situation in Germany is aggravated again, so "we have to go uncomfortable ways now".

The conference of economics ministers had already dealt with the timber shortage in June.

A resolution emphasized that production should be expanded to counteract the shortage of raw materials and intermediate products.

In the case of wood, obstacles such as the use of damaged wood as a building material should be removed.

“The conference of economics ministers also regards wood felled due to pest infestation as a high quality raw material, the use of which should be supported, among other things, in construction.

Conflicting norms should be reviewed and changed. ”The ministers emphasized the importance of free trade and declared that they would like to continue monitoring the situation.

Goodwill for public construction projects

In response to the development in wood prices, it was decided, in coordination with the associations, that "goodwill will be granted for public construction projects if there are sharp price increases," said a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Economics. The current shortages of materials, for example in the case of wood or steel, cannot be combated with export restrictions, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which is also responsible for construction. These "would only lead to negative countermeasures and sanctions," said a spokeswoman on request.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) reported in mid-September that, together with Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU), he had written to the mayors and district administrators a few weeks beforehand and asked, in view of the increased wood prices, to create the possibility of subsequently enabling price surcharges from the public sector for affected craftsmen .

The Central Association of the German Construction Industry hopes that the situation will ease in the medium term.

The producer price indices are still high - since mid-July, but at least availability has been restored at the beginning of August, said an association spokesman.