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Rada upholds moratorium on exporting round timber from Ukraine

BP votes for the timber market bill, but excludes  the lifting of the moratorium on timber exports from it. Photo: Pixabay

BP votes for the timber market bill, but excludes the lifting of the moratorium on timber exports from it. Photo: Pixabay

The Verkhovna Rada adopted bill No. 4197-d "On the timber market" as a basis at a meeting on November 18. This refers to a revised version of the document that excludes the rule on the abolition of the moratorium on exporting round timber from Ukraine. 276 MPs out of 360 registered in the hall voted "for".

Quote"In the final version, the paragraph on lifting the moratorium was excluded from the text. This means that the adopted bill will not include a paragraph on lifting the moratorium. Since 2016, during the moratorium, the investment index in the wood industry has grown by 69%," Dmytro Natalukha, Chairperson of the Economic Affairs Parliamentary Committee, noted during the meeting.

Roksolana Pidlasa, his Deputy, a representative of the political force Servant of the People, noted that the exclusion of the rule on the lifting of the moratorium had occurred despite pressure from Ukraine's European partners.

Quote"If the parliament supports the bill in the first reading, our next step will be the work of the Ukrainian delegation to the EU on further communication of such a decision. A trade committee will be held in Brussels on November 22-23, where the issue of arbitration enforcement is already on the agenda. During the meeting, our delegation will present the planned steps and prove that we are working in good faith to implement the decision," she said.

What bill No. 4197-d will change

The document provides for:

  • publicity of data on the sale of wood and wood products (all market participants will have access);
  • imposition of liability for forest users and timber buyers for refusal to fulfill contractual obligations,
  • determination of clear and uniform rules for holding electronic auctions (their principles, types, and requirements for them),
  • the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry regarding timber trading (the goal is to protect market participants).

Pidlasa added that the Committee continued working on the relevant bill within its preparation for the second reading.

Context. On April 9, 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a law that imposed a ban on the export of unprocessed timber (round timber) for 10 years. This caused insane indignation in the European Union that was left without Ukrainian timber. The EU stated that the ban allegedly violated the requirements of Art. 35 of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU prohibiting any export restrictions.

In December 2020, the European Commission declared illegal the ban on the export of round timber from Ukraine and announced expectations to lift any restrictions on the export of Ukrainian unprocessed timber.

In June 2020, a scandal erupted in which the Swedish company IKEA was implicated. After an investigation by the public organization Earthsight, it turned out that the company allegedly sold furniture from contraband Ukrainian beech.

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