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Far East logs are not welcome at home

The authorities propose to produce pulp from the forest and build houses from it, and exporters of round timber - to stop the duties

At the third Eastern Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin kicked off the work of the second Far Eastern center for deep wood processing in Amursk, and the project has already invested more than 12 billion rubles. The Primorsky Territory Administration signed an agreement at the forum on setting up a production for deep processing and reforestation. Its scale is more modest, but nevertheless the volume of capital investments will amount to 650 million rubles. In general, the state secretary-deputy minister of industry and trade of the Russian Federation Viktor Yevtukhov cited data at the special session of the WEF, in recent years the volume of investments in the industry has reached 39 billion rubles, plus this is estimated at 20 billion rubles in the announced projects. In his view, this suggests that "enterprises are interested in development." EastRussia has tracked what else was said at the WEF about the forest.

Far East logs are not welcome at home
Photo: shutterstock.com
Went to growth?

In addition to the fact that most of the Russian forest resources are concentrated in the Far East, the county has one more competitive advantage. It is in close proximity to the markets - China, Japan, South Korea, which consume almost all the products produced here: raw timber, lumber, veneer, pellets.

Another thing is that this product is still not so much, although experts state the growth. Thanks to active investments in the framework of investment projects and priority investment projects, the output of at least two types of products over the past three years has significantly increased: veneer production by a third, pellet production by 175 percent.

But at the same time sending abroad a roundwood, one of the oldest and most serious problems, is still characteristic of the region. This is easier and much less costly than organizing reprocessing, so these exporters (some of them are trading companies) here around 500. From them, the Russian forest - actually raw materials for subsequent processing, is sent, according to Viktor Yevtukhov, to "global competitors" - to China and Japan. In the same place there are organized production, which give jobs, added value and profit to the treasury of another state. That is why the forest industry in the region faces the task of reducing exports of raw timber and increasing production capacity.

Measures taken?

For this purpose, in particular, the Ministry proposes to introduce from December 2017 tariff quotas for the export of rough timber of Far Eastern breeds and reduce within the quotas the rates of export customs duties - from 25 to 6,5 percent. The quota will be distributed among the enterprises that created the processing capacities. Those companies that want to simply export round timber will not receive quotas, and rates outside of them until 2021 year will gradually increase from 40 to 80 percent.

The work on a new strategy for the development of the timber industry complex, calculated before 2030, is coming to an end.

- We have drawn all the sectoral community to its development, it contains the main guidelines, prospective sales markets, the volume of investments, support measures that the state can provide, both monetary and regulatory. This document, I hope, will become a good navigator for future investors. A separate section is devoted to the Far East and the development of the timber industry complex here. One of the key areas of the timber industry complex, which will improve the processing efficiency, utilize low-grade wood, is the development of pulp mills. Here, in the Far Eastern Federal District, it is a priority, - stressed the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade.

According to forecasts, in the coming years, demand for pulp in the world will increase by at least 20 million tons. And in Russia it is produced at times less than in China or America. Calculations show that in our country at least four pulp and paper mills can be built. If there are investors.

Another promising direction, which determines the upcoming strategy, is the development of wooden housing construction.

- We consider it as one of the most promising, with high added value, great involvement of forest resources in deep processing. Regions in the Far East should use forest more actively in the construction of various facilities in the implementation of social programs. We already have regions that build from a tree house for settlers from dilapidated and emergency housing, and feldsher-midwife points, kindergartens, schools, sports complexes. And there are large facilities, for example, a swimming pool in Kazan, - Victor Yevtukhov cited the example.

Where is the money?

Konstantin Lashkevich, President of RFP Holding, recalls billions in investment in production, in which the question of long-term guarantees for investors comes first.

"Today no company in the Far East, including us, can independently implement such a project, we need an industrial partner. Now we are considering China Paper, a financial partner, for example, Vnesheconombank, and, of course, the state. And without this conglomeration it is impossible to realize a project of this scale, he is sure. - Why are so many projects announced, but not implemented? Because it is a question of the complexity of the approach, if the risks persist, the investor will not go into the project. "

The availability of financial resources is one of the most important problems. In our country, very expensive money, and loans that are related to world cost, have close to zero rates, Mr. Lashkevich sums up. Viktor Evtukhov also indicates the availability of credit resources. Now the ministry's specialists cooperate with Vnesheconombank and Sberbank, which are developing special packages for enterprises-investors in the timber industry complex.

In addition, Vladimir Solodov, deputy plenipotentiary representative in the Far Eastern Federal District, reminds that lumbermen can benefit from the regime of territories of advanced development. And the projects of the pulp and paper mill, being priority, can count on the whole range of state support measures. For example, the Development Fund of the Far East provides funds for 5 percent per annum. Will this be enough for the timber merchants, and whether they will appreciate innovations and measures taken, will become clear literally in a couple of years.
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