Ukraine should regulate timber exports under WTO, EU rules

First Deputy Chairperson of the State Forest Resources Agency Khrystyna Yushkevych says Ukraine needs to handle issues related to the moratorium on timber exports as a reliable member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a partner committed to fulfilling all the requirements stipulated by agreements with the WTO and the European Union.
”The agreement [with the WTO] includes a provision which prohibits imposing a moratorium. In general, Ukraine`s law on moratorium was adopted to stimulate the development of the domestic timber processing industry. However, it has become clear now that achieving this goal by introducing a complete ban was wrong,” Yushkevych told a local TV channel.
According to her, the moratorium on unprocessed timber exports applies to round timber, other than pine, a moratorium on which shall come into effect in 2017.
Yushkevych adds that it should have been reasonable to provide incentives for imports of materials and equipment, and ensure access to long-term loans, in other words to create favorable conditions for domestic wood-processing enterprises.
In addition, Yushkevych pointed to problems with timber small in diameter (up to 20cm) in Ukraine that arose after the introduction of the moratorium.
”We sell it at the lowest price due to the lack of demand on the domestic market, while Europe is interested in such timber, as it has better processing facilities and sales channels,” Yushkevych said.
Asked about ways to improve the situation, Yushkevych noted that the Economy Ministry had developed a bill to lift the moratorium, which was registered at the Ukrainian parliament.
”The draft law introduces the concept of a single electronic register with clear and transparent rules for timber sales, i.e. auctions for all regular timber buyers. After a new government had been formed, the bill was withdrawn, with discussions currently being held to clarify some legislative amendments and re-submit them to the Verkhovna Rada,” she added.
According to Yushkevych, negotiations are under way with the European partners to agree all the provisions.

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