The Illegal Trade in Chemicals



The analytical approach to reconciling the conflicting data is to cross-check data sources in a comprehensive, six-step assessment that includes gap analysis, statistical analysis, the review of industry reports and studies, market analysis, interviews and a check of media sources. This assessment of the situation in Ukraine demonstrates how this analytical approach works. Agriculture is an important economic sector in Ukraine. The foreign trade turnover of agricultural products in2017 reached US $22.6 billion with exports totaling almost US $18.0 billion (Ukraine, Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food 2018). In 2017 Ukraine increased its agricultural production, and the agricultural sector’s contribution to Ukraine’s gross domestic product came to almost 18 per cent (Ukraine, Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food 2018). Agricultural land covers 42.7 million hectares, about 70 per cent of the country, and arable land comes to 32.5 million hectares. Crop production is one of the most important components of the country’s agriculture, and crop protection products are in widespread use (Proconsul 2017). New regulations in the wake of the revolution in 2014 practically destroyed effective customs and phytosanitary controls. According to experts, gaps

in the hazardous waste management regulations, particularly in the collection of empty containers, led to the appearance of domestically produced substandard plant protection products, some of which used obsolete stocks. Weak regulation of intellectual property rights has led to significant production of counterfeit products. Uncontrolled areas in the east of the country and Transnistria in the south-west offer the potential for smuggling plant protection products. Finally, the simplified procedures for importing active ingredients, which are not routinely cross-checked with tax authorities, has resulted in an increase in so-called garage blending of pesticides. These informal producers often use highly hazardous active ingredients that are still permitted. Ukraine is one of the biggest importers and users of plant protection products in the world (Comtrade 2018; FAO 2018). In 2014, as the direct consequence of the military conflict, pesticide imports declined in terms of both tonnage and dollar value. Starting in 2015, however, pesticide imports have grown in terms of dollar value, and starting in 2016 have grown in terms of tonnage. This trend cannot be explained only by the growth in consumption and price increases of active ingredients in China.

The Illegal Trade in Chemicals


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