Russia May Lift Timber Tariffs as Part of Anti-Crisis Program

Russia may lift timber export tariffs for certain “priority” projects after the government approved a set of measures to combat the economic crisis.

Financial support for Russia’s biggest forest industry ventures, including loans and interest payment assistance, will also be made available, the government said in a document published on its Web site late yesterday.

The measures were approved yesterday evening, Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina said on state television. Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry currently lists 49 “priority” projects, which it defines as ventures whose investments will total at least 300 million rubles ($9 million).

Three or four forestry projects, each worth more than 5 billion rubles and including ventures by Finland’s Stora Enso Oyj (STERV) and Metsae-Botnia Oy (METSA), may receive exemptions on timber exports, Kommersant newspaper said today, citing an unidentified ministry official.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced in November that a planned tax increase to 50 euros ($68) per cubic meter of wood exports would be delayed by nine to 12 months. The new tariff would have roughly doubled the price of Russian wood after it took effect on Jan. 1.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Abelsky in St. Petersburg at pabelsky@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Kirkham at ckirkham@bloomberg.net

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