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EastRussia Bulletin: Friday exclusive - forestry

The traditional exclusive industry analytical review of the EastRussia bulletin - this time on the forestry industry: the current state of affairs, expectations from the upcoming reorganization of state structures in the field of supervision and forest management, as well as the export situation.

The main task in the timber industry today is the transition from an economic model that involves the export of timber raw materials to the development of timber processing within the country and the creation of products with high added value. Stimulate the creation of new industries, in particular. is planned with the help of a complete ban on the export of unprocessed timber, centralization of control in the field of forest use, digitalization and automation of processes related to the harvesting and processing of forest resources. Considering that the planned innovations raise concerns from the industry community in the Far East, several regions have been identified as pilot regions for the implementation of new projects.

EastRussia Bulletin: Friday exclusive - forestry
Photo: EastRussia

It is planned to increase the efficiency of forest management and reduce illegal logging by introducing an Internet system for managing the forestry and timber processing industry of the Far East - Lesvostok.rf, developed by the Far East and Arctic Development Fund (FEDV). Currently, preparations are underway for the implementation of a pilot project in the territory of two Far Eastern regions - the Trans-Baikal and Khabarovsk Territories. In January of this year, the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment agreed on a roadmap for an action plan for conducting an experiment in these subjects in 2021 to introduce the Lesvostok.rf system. With the help of it, users are given access to up-to-date information on the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of the forests of the Far Eastern Federal District, which allows potential investors to choose a suitable forest site, prepare project documentation and apply for the use of the site through an electronic auction. The service is also planned to be integrated with adjacent operating state information systems. Rosleskhoz and authorized executive authorities of the regions, as part of the experiment, will be connected to the Lesvostok.rf information system in order to test and verify the data.

At the first stage, users will be able to use such service options as the selection of a forest plot for holding an auction for the right to conclude a lease agreement, receiving and considering applications for holding auctions. Summing up the results of the experiment is scheduled for November 2021. After that, it is planned to make decisions on a phased expansion of the list of services provided using the Lesvostok.rf system, and to extend this experience to other Far Eastern regions.

Also in January of this year, the State Duma approved package of amendments to the Forest Code of the Russian Federation (the largest since 2006), aimed at tightening control and supervision over activities related to the use of forests and wood[1]... The amendments imply the creation of a federal state information system of the forestry complex, which is planned to be launched in 2023. Within the framework of it, all operations with the forest should be carried out - loading electronic accompanying documents for timber, registering transactions, indicating all stages of transshipment and storage sites for raw materials. The creation of such a system is estimated at 7,4 billion rubles. By improving the timber accounting system, it is planned to reduce illegal logging and increase the tax base. In addition, the amendments provide for the creation of state forest supervision - this function will be transferred from the regions to the federal level.

The current Federal Forestry Agency (Rosleskhoz) is supposed to be removed from the subordination of the Ministry of Natural Resources and empowered to supervise the activities of forestry enterprises (including conducting field inspections) - in each region a federal forest inspector will lead this work. It is planned to put under special control the traceability of wood origin, transportation and export, provision of land plots for use, cases of unauthorized occupation of forest areas, compensatory reforestation. In their work, inspectors will use an automated system for recording timber and transactions with it (LesEGAIS), which has been operating in pilot mode since 2015. Automatic recording of violations, which will become the basis for an inspector to leave and establish the fact of violation, will be carried out using drones and remote satellites. ground sensing (in order to improve this tool, Roslesinforg and Roskosmos will have to expand cooperation[2]).

The regions may retain the functions of guarding and patrolling forests. It is planned to attract an additional 425 state inspectors to inspect wood storage sites (based on an average of five people per federal subject with a wage fund of 763,7 thousand rubles per person per year). The new system should be integrated with the state forest register (collection of all data on the state of forests). At the same time, ecologists point out that the register data are outdated by more than 10-20 years. Representatives of the timber industry, in turn, declare the risks of additional costs, since in the case of registering and controlling not only wood, but also the products of its processing, the business will incur additional costs for providing the required data.

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the year, the government approved a strategy for the development of the forestry complex until 2030. A detailed plan for its implementation should be developed and presented within six months. The priority actions under the strategy are the improvement of forest supervision, the transparency of timber turnover and the elimination of conflicts of interest in the regions, as well as solving the problem of a rapid reduction in the forest resource base. As an experiment, it is planned to transfer supervisory functions to the federal level in the Irkutsk region (as well as in the Arkhangelsk region). The Angara region accounts for about 37% of illegal logging in the Russian Federation (according to Roslesinforg)[3]... The region will expand the area of ​​continuous remote monitoring of forest use on the lands of the forest fund - by 120%.

According to the strategy, by 2030, forestry enterprises will have to provide 189 billion rubles in tax revenues (currently - 91 billion rubles), and the contribution of the forestry complex to the country's economy should reach 1% of GDP (at the end of 2019 - 0,5 , 219% of GDP). The volume of logging by this time is planned to increase from 286,1 to 44,7 million cubic meters. m per year, lumber production - from 70 to 16,6 million cubic meters. m per year, pulp and paper products - up to 2,8 million tons, and biofuels - up to XNUMX million tons per year.

Industry representatives in the Far East are concerned about the total ban on the export of unprocessed and roughly processed coniferous timber from the Russian Federation, planned from October 2022[4] and valuable hardwoods. This order was voiced by President V. Putin in September last year at a meeting on the development and decriminalization of the forestry complex. At the same time, this year the export duty on unprocessed timber is 80% (in 2020 - 60%[5]). Nevertheless, in order to develop domestic production and reduce the cost of raw materials for Russian producers, industry experts see the need to extend subsidies for timber transportation for export (covering 80% of transport costs) and for transportation within the country. At the same time, the risk of rising prices for raw materials is also due to a possible decrease in the volume of timber harvesting after the export ban. Industry representatives express dissatisfaction with the short timeframe for the introduction of new measures, since in these conditions, small enterprises that do not have the ability to create processing capacities by 2022 may leave the market.In this regard, there are also fears of some enterprises leaving the gray zone.

Deputy Prime Minister, Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Y. Trutnev said in February that as an option to preserve the right to export a certain amount of timber raw materials, the possibility of creating a new state-owned company with the exclusive right to export round timber and the obligation to reinvest profits in the construction of new timber processing enterprises could be considered in the country. However, the specific mechanisms for creating such a company (including sources of funding) have not yet been specified.

Against this background, the government intends to stimulate the development of wood processing. Last fall, Deputy Prime Minister V. Abramchenko approved a plan for decriminalization and development of the forestry complex, including measures to stimulate demand for timber. The Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of Industry and Trade were instructed to ensure in the pilot regions the implementation of a set of measures aimed at the development of construction (with a target level of 20%) of residential buildings and social and cultural facilities using wooden structures within the framework of programs with state support measures, including when relocating from emergency housing stock. By July 1, 2021, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of Industry and Trade should extend the effect of mortgage programs to housing from industrially manufactured wooden house kits. The Ministry of Industry and Trade was instructed to prepare a regulatory legal act on the implementation of a program of concessional lending for businesses in order to modernize their fixed assets and create facilities for deep processing of wood.

Today, there is a decrease in the export of timber from the Far East. Primorsky Krai in 2020 sent for export 2,69 million cubic meters. m of timber, which is 16,2% less than in 2019: 1,9 million cubic meters. m of export was made of industrial wood (suitable in quality and size for industrial processing, as well as for use in round form), including 1,8 million cubic meters. m was supplied to the PRC. Exports from the region of processed timber amounted to 830 thousand cubic meters. m, mainly lumber. 731,7 thousand cubic meters of sawn timber were exported to the PRC, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the DPRK and the Philippines. However, it should be noted that not only Far Eastern timber products are exported through the coastal checkpoints, but also products from the western regions of the country.

At the same time, many projects in the field of woodworking are implemented within the framework of preferential economic regimes, although most of them are not large-scale. Within the framework of the Amuro-Khinganskaya ASEZ in the Jewish Autonomous Region (Obluchensky District), VTK-Invest intends to launch an enterprise for the production of fuel briquettes and veneer. The volume of investments in the project is estimated at more than 431 million rubles. In February, Yi Sen opened a full-cycle wood processing plant within the FPV on the territory of Ussuriisk in the Primorsky Territory. The enterprise produces birch furniture board. After reaching the planned capacity, the enterprise is supposed to process 4,8 thousand cubic meters. m of wood per year and produce 1,3 thousand cubic meters. m of finished products.

Last autumn Terminal 23 LLC received the status of a resident of the Irkutsk PSEDA in Tulun with a project for an enterprise for woodworking and the production of wood joinery. The volume of capital investments in the project is estimated at 39,799 million rubles. Also in Priangarye, Stroy Mek intends to launch the production of wood fuel pellets (pellets) with a capacity of 25 thousand tons per year in the Zhigalovsky district. The project budget is 139,7 million rubles.

Finally, in the Khabarovsk Territory, Vostochnaya Torgovaya Kompaniya LLC (VTK) expects to establish the production of fuel briquettes (pini-key), disposable wooden biological dishes and veneer in the village of Khor (Lazo district). The annual capacity for the production of fuel briquettes should be 10 thousand tons, and the capacity for the production of peeled veneer - 14 thousand cubic meters. The launch of a new production facility is the third stage in the development of the VTK woodworking complex in the region - within the first stage, the company launched the production of lumber and veneer, and within the second stage, the production of plywood, fuel pellets and charcoal was organized.

[1]           The authors of the bill were a group of parliamentarians headed by the vice-speaker of the State Duma A. Gordeev and the deputy chairman of the Federation Council Y. Vorobyov.

[2]           In the field of improving the quality, efficiency and increasing the volume of imagery from Russian satellites.

[3]           In 2020, the volume of illegal logging in the Russian Federation amounted to 6,3 cubic meters. m for every 1 hectares.

[4]           Conifers account for about 70% of the export of unprocessed timber.

[5]           The duty for timber processing quotas is 6,5%. In 2019, the volume of roundwood exports from the Russian Federation decreased by 25%, amounting to 4,5 million cubic meters. m.

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