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Importers To Pay Double Fines Under Proposed Recycling Law

Recently proposed legislation requiring companies to recycle their commercial waste could penalize importers twice as much as domestic producers.

The most recent draft of the bill, which has been under development in the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry since 2010, would have both producers and importers guarantee reclamation of their waste or pay an environmental tax to a state fund.

However, importers would then be required to submit a second tax of the same size to the Federal Customs Service, Vedomosti reported Monday. The tax could be returned, but only after the company demonstrated that their wastes had been recycled appropriately.

The proposal has prompted a host of criticisms, including concern that importers might simply pay the tax and be done with it, defeating the purpose of the bill.

Some delivery companies said that the Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use should oversee implementation of the law rather than the Customs Service.

A report by the International Finance Corporation found that manufacturers were likely to charge consumers for the additional cost of environmental fines unless the government improved the performance and transparency of waste services.

The fines could be instituted by 2016 if the State Duma approves the legislation during its fall session, Svetlana Yurmanova, director at the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, said.

Materials addressed by the law include glass, paper, cardboard, metal containers, electric appliances, tires and furniture.

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