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    DRAFT FOREST CODE TO BE SUBMITTED FOR CABINET CONSIDERATION ON FEBRUARY 19

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    ST.PETERSBURG, FEBRUARY 4. /RIA NOVOSTI-NORTH WEST CORRESPONDENT DINA DANILOVA/ -- The draft Forest Code will be submitted for consideration by the Russian cabinet of ministers on February 19, deputy minister for industry, science and technologies Sergei Mitin has said. He took the floor on Wednesday at the sitting in St. Petersburg of the organising committee to prepare the 6th International Lumbering Forum.

    "The lack of a modern forest law, now due to be set as a forest code, has told on even the absolute performance of the lumbering sector", Mitin said.

    To him, in 2003 the volume of logging fell by 5.2 percent from 2002. In 2003 the volume of production by the Russian lumbering complex was 1.5 percent above 2002. "It is one of the lowest rates of growth among the industrial sectors. It cannot gladden us in any way", he said.

    At the same time, the growth rates are satisfactory in some subsectors of the lumbering complex, he said. Iit goes above all for thorough wood processing - the production of splint slabs, cardboard, plywood.

    In 2003 the lumbering complex, in comparison with 2002, increased export by 11.8 percent to 5 billion dollars, import by 15.9 percent to 2.3 dollars.

    Sergei Mitin noted that, for the first time in recent years, the export structure has moved towards the more high-tech sectors.

    Mitin also said that in 2003 investments in the lumbering complex stood at 22 billion roubles, or 8 percent above the 2002 level.

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