Under the guise of firewood goes abroad 500 thousand tons of round timber, and this process is legalized, experts state. They believe that to abolish the moratorium on the export of forest authorities were unable, and decided to bypass it in order to receive macrofinancial assistance from the EU.
The Verkhovna Rada has canceled a moratorium on the export of firewood. Export all varieties of wood fall under the moratorium, introduced in Ukraine in 2015. But now he actually removed the ban on the export of “fuel wood”. Experts are confident that under the guise of firewood will start the export of industrial wood.
Ruslan Bortnik ironically: “the Slogan of Poroshenko” – Army, language, faith” turned out to be banal “Forest, land, migrant workers””.
He notes that bill No. 5495 was aimed at tightening responsibility for violation of the moratorium. It was called “the preservation Of Ukrainian forests and preventing illegal export of unprocessed timber”.
In the original version of the bill proposes to extend the moratorium on the export of wood for 8 years, to increase the punishment for illegal cutting and smuggling. Responsibility really stepped up, but the President has made changes, excluding the point on the extension of the moratorium on the export of wood.
The analyst recalls that the EU has consistently insisted on the lifting of the moratorium on the export of forest. For the first time, a demand voiced at the summit Ukraine-EU in 2016. Even then, Petro Poroshenko promised the Europeans to revise domestic legislation for the tranche of macro-financial assistance of 600 million euros.
This caused a wave of criticism. For example, the head of the Ukrainian analytical center Alexander Okhrimenko on TV called the decision “the most common bribe.” The expert claimed that the lifting of the moratorium in exchange for financial assistance – “this is nonsense”, and the requirement of the European Union initially wrong.
“Those 600 million offered by the EU will mean for our country’s ecological catastrophe”, – said the expert.
Europeans argue its position that the moratorium, they say, undermines the spirit of a deep and comprehensive free trade area EU-Ukraine, and contradicts the obligations of Ukraine as a WTO member. After all, both sides should not impose any restrictions on exports.
To fulfill the President’s promise, it would be necessary to lift the moratorium vote in the Verkhovna Rada. But in 2015, a ban on the export of forest voted all Parliament factions, including 89 members of the Bloc Poroshenko. Against was not a single voice.
To cancel the moratorium on the timber and failed, so at the end of last year, Ukraine received a tranche of macro-financial assistance in the amount of 600 million euros.
Now, the EU again promised macro-financial assistance. This time in the amount of 1 billion euros. In terms of this sum, the lifting of the moratorium on the export of the forest is not officially announced.
However, it is striking that immediately after the lifting of the ban on the export of wood, the Deputy head of the presidential Administration Konstantin Eliseev said that the signing of the agreement with the EU on granting macro-financial assistance is at the final stage.
“The decision on allocation of 1 billion Euro macro-financial assistance — a consequence of the personal agreement of Petro Poroshenko with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. Subsequently this arrangement was supported by the EU Council and the European Parliament, is at the final stage”, — he said.
The end of the recovery of the forest industry
Ruslan Bortnik believes that the partial lifting of the veto is part of the agreement in order to receive funding from the EU.
“If you look at the Memorandum, then there is a point about the need to remove regulation, which is contrary to the rules of the WTO and the Association agreement with the EU. Perhaps Poroshenko lifted the veto on the wood, as trying to exchange a forest for a loan from the European Union”, – said R. Bortnik.
The political scientist believes that the lifting of the moratorium would meet the resistance of the parliamentarians. “The President does not allow the Parliament to play on this issue the political map and advertized. However, the Ukrainian forest goes to the EU and will continue to go.” He recalls that was made public investigation which showed that European companies are the main consumers of Ukrainian smuggling of the forest.
Indeed, in the report of the British NGO, Earthsight indicates that the volume of illegal exports of raw wood from Ukraine to Europe increased by 75%, and in 2017 reached 1 billion euros. According to British experts, nearly 60 percent of deforestation violate constraints that are often under the false pretext of sanitary cuttings.
From the Ukrainian side the export busy state enterprises. “Our data suggests that hundreds of state companies are involved in the systematic, deliberate violation of a wide range of regulations in the logging,” – said in the report Earthsight.
Head of the analytical center “Third sector” Andrei Zolotarev sure – the massive smuggling of Ukrainian forest has a reliable “political roof”. “Smuggling of the forest “roof” of the political elite. The same people who are standing on the podium, tearing chest embroidery – they destroy the forest Fund of the Carpathians”, – says the analyst.
Recall that forests occupy approximately 17% of the territory of Ukraine — 104 million sq. m. (sixth in Europe), and timber reserves of 2.1 billion cu m. About 40% of the forests located on the West of the country.
In 2015, the deputies unanimously supported a moratorium to direct raw materials to the enterprises of Ukraine, “to create new jobs, provide substantial budget revenues of the state.”
In the forest industry of Ukraine, which accounts for 3.6% of GDP, a total of 500 thousand busy people.
After a moratorium export of unprocessed logs was halved from 932 thousand dollars in 2014 to 438 thousand dollars in 2015. However, exports of wood products remained at the level of 1.2 billion dollars. Thus began the active purchase of equipment for the woodworking industry, the growth of production and export industry, creating new jobs, additional revenues to the budget.
The head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on industrial policy and entrepreneurship Viktor Galasyuk said that the ban on the export of unprocessed timber has a positive effect on the domestic industry. He says that every year, SIZ of Ukraine in the EU is exported 500 thousand tons of round timber under the guise of firewood.
And removing the moratorium on wood, President Poroshenko helps the smugglers to plunder Ukraine and illegally export to the EU under the guise of Ukrainian wood, round timber. “He helps the smugglers to plunder Ukraine and Ukrainians are poor,” said Galasyuk.