EU spells out its stance on wood export ban

11:53 Dec. 6, 2016

Endangered forests in Ukraine (Getty Images)

Ukraine’s moratorium is not preventing deforestation, argues the EU delegation

Ukraine’s current ban on the export of wood does not help to protect the country’s forests, but, instead, serves the needs of some vested interests in the wood processing industry, allowing them to get exclusive and unrestricted access to forestry resources.

That is how the EU delegation to Ukraine replied to a barrage of criticism in social media and press as to EU’s demand to lift the moratorium on unprocessed timber export.

“We understand well the concerns expressed by those Ukrainian citizens, who care for the forests and do not wish to see uncontrolled deforestation, illegal logging and the stripping of Ukraine’s natural resources,” the EU delegation said in a statement.

Watch also Time-lapse imagery shows scope of deforestation in Carpathians

“The current ban on the export of wood does not achieve these goals. And it does not prevent illegal logging or smuggling of wood as these illegal activities become more profitable. The EU would strongly support higher penalties for such crimes and more effective enforcement actions in this field,” it said.

The delegation explained that the EU opposes the current wood ban because it considers it to be a restriction on free trade.

“It is against Ukraine’s international commitments under the World Trade Organisation and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. We have been working with the Ukrainian authorities to find a solution which strikes a fair balance between permitting fair and equal access to natural resources, promoting trade, investment and economic development, and protecting the valuable and unique natural resources of Ukraine,” the statement said.

As earlier reported, lifting the moratorium is one of the key conditions to unblock further tranche of EUR 600 million of macrofinancial assistance.

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