Russian Forest –Made in China?

Feature story - 3 August, 2006
On July, 25th 2006, in Moscow the vice-chairman of the Chinese Forest Administration Li Yuichnaya met the deputy head of the Russian Federal Forestry Service B.M. Bolshakov to discuss issues of bilateral cooperation in forestry sector.

Forest in Arkhagelsk region

As a result of the meeting some mass media reported that China desires to take under lease one million hectares of Siberian forests.

These reports need some comments:

China can not lease million hectares of forest in Russia, no matter how much they want to. In accordance to Chapter 13 of the Forest Code, participants of forest relations are the Russian Federation, constituent entities of the Russian Federation, municipal bodies, citizens and legal entities.

So the Chinese People`s Republic is not a participant of Russian forest relations and can not take Russian forests under lease. To do this, it would have to start a company registered in Russia and then pass the official procedure demanded for leasing Russian forest plots.

The above information agrees with the report of the press service of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

However, it's noteworthy that a bilateral agreement of the top forestry bureaucrats has little effect for the Chinese forest business in Russia if any. Most probably, forest lease with participation of Chinese funded enterprises with further advance in many Russian regions anyway irrespective of agreements between Li Yuichnaya and B.M.Bolshakov or other forest administration heads of the two countries.

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