The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s legislative body, has restricted domestic consumption of raw timber to the level of 25 million m3 annually for the term of the ban on exports outside of the customs area of Ukraine (exports) of unprocessed timber.
The respective bill, #5495, on amending certain laws regarding the preservation of Ukrainian forests and prevention of illegal exports of unprocessed timber, gained the support of 234 members of parliament in the second reading and in general, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
The amendments to the second reading of the bill, the criminal and administrative liability for unlawful logging and its further exports outside the customs control (smuggling) has been made significantly more severe.
Particularly, the Code on Administrative Offenses suggests a provision that provides for unlawful cutting, transportation and storage of illegally cut trees is made punishable with a fine amounting to 15-30 non-taxable minimum citizens’ income (1 non-taxable income is UAH 17), and to 75-150 non-taxable officials’ incomes. As of right now, the liability is specified as 5-10 minimum incomes and 7-12 minimum incomes respectively).
Should the same offense be committed within a 1-year period, the amount of the fine increases to 30-60 non-taxable minimums for the public, and to 300-600 for government officials.
A provision on a temporary ban (for eight years beginning on the date of the law becoming effective) on the exports of raw firewood outside the customs area of Ukraine under the customs regulations was introduced into the document during the second reading.
According to Viktor Halasyuk, who is the head of the parliamentary committee on industrial policy and entrepreneurship, and co-authored the document, “the law removes the recent warnings made by our international partners that pertained to the compliance of the moratorium on the exports of round wood according to our international agreements. Also, the law specifies significantly increased criminal liability for the smuggling of round wood that exceeds $1 billion over the period of the previous five years. The document enters its full legal force on 1 January 2019.