The European Commission awaits a final decision on the dispute between Ukraine and the EU on a temporary ban on export of round timber until the end of this year, as follows from the EU’s annual Association Implementation Report.
“Recent draft legal proposals which would introduce local content requirements in public procurement procedures are a cause of concern as they breach the equal treatment and non-discrimination principles of public procurement under the AA, the WTO and the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement,” the report says.
“Regarding trade defense activities, the recent proliferation of safeguard investigations launched by Ukraine have not always been carried out in strict adherence with criteria and standards,” according to the document.
“Following many years of uninterrupted growth favored by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) established by the AA, bilateral trade in the first eight months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 decreased by around 11% as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU remains by far Ukraine’s biggest trading partner. Regarding Ukraine’s wood export ban, a longstanding bilateral trade-irritant, a bilateral arbitration panel under the AA has been established and a final ruling of the panel is expected still in 2020,” the EC said.
“With regard to the reform of the Ukrainian forest-based sector, including wood harvesting and trade and, in particular, wood legality, Ukraine authorities from the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources committed during a TSD (Trade and Sustainable Development) sub-committee meeting in October 2020, to the need for a separation of functions between the management of resources and control functions and thus a reorganization and distribution of responsibilities between control and inspection on the one hand, and wood harvesting and trade on the other,” the report states.