Rada limits domestic use of unprocessed timber, temporarily suspends lumber exports
Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada has limited domestic consumption of raw timber in the amount of 25 million cubic meters per year for the duration of the ban on the export outside the customs territory of Ukraine (export) of unprocessed timber.
Some 234 deputies for the bill (No. 5495) on amending some laws of Ukraine concerning the preservation of Ukrainian forests and prevention of illegal export of unprocessed timber in the second reading and in general.
According to the amendments to the second reading of the document, the administrative and criminal liability for illegal logging and its further export outside the customs control (smuggling) has been significantly strengthened.
In particular, the Code on Administrative Offenses introduces the norm according to which illegal cutting and transportation, storage of illegally cut trees entails a fine of 15 to 30 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens (1 non-taxable minimum is 17 UAH), and on officials - from 75 to 150 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens (in current legislation - from 5 to 10 and from 7 to 12 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens, respectively).
In case of a repeated offense within a year, the amount of the fine is for citizens from 30 to 60 non-taxable minimums, for officials - from 300 to 600.
In addition, according to changes in the Criminal Code of Ukraine, movement across the customs border of Ukraine outside the customs control or concealment from the uncontrolled control of unprocessed timber or valuable sawn timber or rare species timber is punishable by imprisonment for three to five years.
The same actions that have been committed repeatedly or by prior conspiracy by a group of persons or an official using his official position are punishable by imprisonment for a term of five to 10 years, with deprivation of the right to occupy certain positions and with confiscation of property.
If these actions are committed by an organized group of individuals or on a particularly large scale, penalty of imprisonment of 10 to 12 years applies, with deprivation of the right to engage in certain activities for three years and with confiscation of property.
A provision on a temporary ban (for a period of eight years from the date of entry into force of the law) on the export of raw firewood (commodity item UKTVED 4401 10 0000) outside the customs territory of Ukraine under the customs regime was introduced in the bill to the second reading.
"This law removes the recent warnings of our international partners regarding the compliance of the moratorium on the export of round wood to our international agreements. Secondly, it provides extremely strict criminal liability for the smuggling of round wood that has exceeded $1 billion over the past five years. The law also prohibits the export of firewood, from which we can also make pellets," head of the parliament's industrial policy and entrepreneurship committee and co-author of the bill Viktor Halasiuk said.
The document comes into force on January 1, 2019.