Bulgarian Timber Companies Stage New Protest over 3-Month Export Ban

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For the third time in less than a month, Bulgarian timber companies will stage a protest against the 3-month moratorium on exports.

Industry representatives insist that despite the promise of MPs to revoke the ban, the authorities are refusing to engage in dialogue with them, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio.

The 3-month ban on timber exports entered into force on March 10, with authorities claiming that it was aimed at stopping illegal logging.

However, representatives of timber companies believe that the moratorium is meaningless because illegal exports have not stopped, while legal businesses hit by the ban suffer losses and staff cuts.

Over 1300 people are said to have lost their jobs already.

Meanwhile, the losses accumulated over the past 20 days are estimated at around BGN 8 000 000.

Industry representatives complain that the moratorium was imposed after 1/3 of the auction sessions for the year had passed, with a total of BGN 12 000 000 already invested in timber earmarked for export that could neither be sold on the domestic market nor abroad.

Bulgarian MPs have pledged to lift the 3-month ban ahead of term, provided that the Agriculture Ministry prepares changes to the Forest Act.

The legal amendments are to be published for public consultation on Wednesday.

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