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Dispute settlement | Brussels, 12 December 2020

Ukraine wood export ban found illegal in independent panel ruling

The final ruling of a dispute settlement panel set up under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement found that the Ukrainian ban on the exports of all unprocessed wood is incompatible with the Association Agreement. Consequently, Ukraine is expected to terminate the export ban as soon as possible. This finding concludes the first ever EU trade dispute under a bilateral agreement.

The EU and Ukraine have repeatedly stressed their joint commitment to sustainable development, this includes fighting the exploitation of natural resources, including forests, and protecting the environment.

The EU has been supporting Ukraine with various projects, including support to environmental protection, public administration and sustainable forest management as well as, for example, to the development of value chains for non-timber forest products and a multi-purpose forest management.

The Panel Ruling confirmed, however, that the general Ukrainian export ban introduced in 2015 on all unprocessed wood does not serve any of these legitimate policy objectives. Accordingly, it is in breach of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which explicitly forbids export prohibitions. The ruling also found that the export ban limited to ten specific wood species introduced in 2005 could be partially justified under plant life protection exceptions.

The Panel ruling means that Ukraine must swiftly remove its 2015 export ban on all unprocessed wood.

More information

The history of the EU-Ukraine dispute on wood export ban - Memo

Panel Ruling, 11 December 2020

On 11 December 2020, the Arbitration Panel notified, in accordance with Article 310 of the Association Agreement, to the Parties and to the Trade Committee its ruling of the dispute concerning measures related to certain Ukrainian export restrictions on wood.