Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to stop uncontrolled export of untreated timber following a meeting on the development and decriminalization of the timber industry.
“I ask the government to prepare a legislative and regulatory framework for solving the following tasks: it is necessary, finally, to put a rigid barrier against uncontrolled export of unprocessed timber,” the president said.
Instead of timber processing, Russia is exporting raw materials, “smuggling them out,” the president elaborated. “There are obvious imbalances in the development of the Russian forestry complex. The leading processing enterprises of the industry are located far from the main centers of product consumption, primarily in the Asia-Pacific region, where a favorable pricing environment is observed, a growing demand, including for ecological fuel, for fuel pellets,” President Putin said.
“At the same time, our Far Eastern constituent entities of the Federation, having potentially good competitive positions, meaning low cost of forest resources, and a convenient delivery option, cannot yet take advantage of this, and increase the capacity for deep timber processing,” he said. According to President Putin, “instead, the practice of exporting simple raw materials, low-value products continues.” “Moreover, often all this goes through all sorts of “grey” or openly criminal schemes for exporting products. Simply put – what is it called? – Smuggling,” the president said.
The president also requested completely banning shipments of roundwood of softwood species out of Russia starting January 1, 2022.
“I request imposing complete ban on shipment of unprocessed or roughly processed conifer and valuable hardwood out of Russia starting January 1, 2022,” he said on Wednesday and tasked the government with “preparing the legislative base to solve the task of preventing uncontrolled outflow of unprocessed timber.”
The president also ordered that a program of subsidized loans for upgrading wood processing facilities be launched starting January 1, 2021.
Vladimir Putin called for effectively and consistently building a top-down management system in the timber industry and decriminalizing it. “Undoubtedly, we need to act broadly in a number of areas. Exercising maximum decisiveness and taking into account the accumulated experience, [we’ll] build an effective top-down chain of management in the timber industry. We need to engage in consistent, I would even say, a hard-hitting decriminalization of the industry,” the president said.
In his opinion, what is happening in the timber industry “is out of line.” “It is necessary to improve the quality of state forest supervision. Overall, it is necessary to create conditions and a solid foundation for steady growth and development of the industry,” he said.
President Putin called the criticism of public organizations and environmentalists regarding the level and quality of the authorities’ work on the forestry complex “fair.” “I don’t think that all government structures, government bodies at all levels work effectively here. Unfortunately, this is not the case,” President Putin said. He noted that following the meeting, a list of instructions will be compiled, taking into account constructive proposals to remedy the situation.
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