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In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards

 

Foreign Trade in Figures

The country is fairly open to foreign trade, which accounts for 46% of GDP (World Bank, 2020), despite strict laws and policies. Russia became a member of the WTO in 2012, is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which have established a free trade area, and is a member of the Eurasian Customs Union. Russia and Ukraine have abolished mutual trade preferences. The Eurasian Customs Union has signed an agreement with Vietnam and is negotiating free trade agreements with, for example, Iran, India, Egypt, Singapore and Serbia. Russia is the 16th exporter and 21st importer of goods in the world (WTO, 2020). It mainly exports hydrocarbons (more than 50% of total exports), solid fuels, wheat and meslin, iron and steel, precious metals, precious stones and wood, and mainly imports machinery, pharmaceuticals, electronics, electrical products, vehicles and plastics. After dropping sharply in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume of exports and imports of goods and services rebounded in 2021. Exports increased by 3.2% compared to 2020, while imports surged by 17.3% (IMF). According to IMF forecast, exports should increase faster in 2022 (5.6%) before slowing down in 2023 (2.7%). Imports are expected to slow down in 2022 (6.8%) and even further in 2023 (1.6%).
 
Russia's main customers are China (14.6% of exports), the Netherlands (7.4%), the United Kingdom (6.9%), Germany (5.5%), Belarus (4.7%) and Turkey (4.7%). Its main suppliers are China (23.7% of imports), Germany (10.1%), the United States (5.7%), Belarus (5.4%) and Italy (4.4%). Since the conflict in Ukraine and the economic sanctions imposed by Western countries, the Kremlin has imposed an embargo on European and American agricultural products and has reconfigured its trade relations.
 
The country has recorded significant and regular trade surpluses since 1998, mainly due to the richness of its natural resources, notably hydrocarbons (crude oil and natural gas in particular). The trade surplus makes up easily for the deficit in services and income. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and falling oil prices, the surplus shrank in 2020. According to the latest WTO data, Russia exported USD 332.2 billion worth of goods in 2020, and imported USD 240.4 billion worth, posting a surplus of USD 91.8 billion (compared to USD 165.3 billion in 2019). The country exported 46.7 billion USD of services and imported 63.4 billion USD. According to preliminary data from the Russian central bank, the trade surplus increased to USD 162.8 billion during the period from January to November 2021 (compared to USD 82.9 billion during the same period in 2020), thanks to higher oil prices. Despite the efforts made since the imposition of sanctions, the substitution of domestic products for imports has hardly been successful, except in the food industry.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 191,406238,384248,856254,598240,380
Exports of Goods (million USD) 281,825353,104443,914419,850332,227
Imports of Services (million USD) 74,37987,40093,41297,66863,435
Exports of Services (million USD) 50,50456,84763,62461,79346,707

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 46.546.951.649.446.1
Trade Balance (million USD) 90,215114,558195,058165,25291,848
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 66,25683,235164,976128,50774,433
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -3.717.32.73.4-12.0
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3.25.05.60.7-4.3
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 20.720.820.820.920.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 25.926.130.828.525.5

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

 
Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 3.25.62.01.71.6
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 17.36.81.61.51.6

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
China 14.6%
Netherlands 7.4%
United Kingdom 6.9%
Germany 5.5%
Belarus 4.7%
See More Countries 60.9%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
China 23.7%
Germany 10.1%
United States 5.7%
Belarus 5.4%
Italy 4.4%
See More Countries 50.7%

Source: Comtrade, last available data

 

Main Products

337.1 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 21.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 13.5%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 5.5%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels...Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 3.7%
Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin 2.3%
See More Products 53.5%
231.7 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 4.0%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.3%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.1%
Automatic data processing machines and units...Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.3%
See More Products 84.5%

Source: Comtrade, last available data

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import export flows.

 

Main Services

61.3 bn USD of services exported in 2018
35.34%
20.68%
18.73%
8.87%
6.83%
2.51%
2.16%
1.67%
1.43%
0.95%
0.83%
92.0 bn USD of services imported in 2018
37.26%
22.18%
16.58%
6.84%
5.10%
4.35%
1.99%
1.67%
1.51%
1.43%
1.09%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 

Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Russian Rouble (RUB)
Exchange Rate Regime
Managed floating exchange rate regime. The Bank of Russia has recently made a transition to a floating exchange rate regime.
Level of Currency Instability
High. Russia is highly dependent on fluctuating oil revenues.
Exchange Rate on :

 
 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Russian Rouble (RUB) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 EUR 71.3465.9073.9472.7082.36

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

Find out all the exchange rates daily on our service Currency converter.

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Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
International Economic Cooperation
Russia is a member of the following international economic organisations: Eurasian Economic Union, IMF, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), OECD  (accession state), Black Sea Economic Cooperation Zone (BSEC), ICC, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (dialogue partner), G-8, G-20, WTO, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), among others.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Russia can be consulted here.
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets
Yes

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Party of the TIR Convention
Yes

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
Goods shipped to Russia must be accompanied by the following documents:
- The single administrative document (SAD)
- The commercial invoice: it must be drawn up in triplicate, in English or in Russian, and contain the usual notes. It must specify the number of the Customs terminal.
- A phytosanitary certificate: this is necessary for fruit, vegetables, seeds and other plants, and is issued by the regional plant protection service.
- A health certificate: this is necessary for meat and is issued by the departmental directorate of veterinary services.
- A certificate of conformity to Russian standards (GOST-R) : it is necessary for products likely to be dangerous for health or the protection of the environment (foodstuffs, chemical products, consumer goods, etc.)
- Transport documents and the packing list

To go further, check out our service Shipping documents.

Free Zones
Free-trade zones are called Special Economic Zones (SEZ). Russia currently counts 27 SEZs, divided into four categories:

- Technology and innovation zones
- Tourism and recreation zones
- Industrial and production zones
- Logistics (port) zones

Furthermore, the Russian government created a separate but similar program – “Territories of Advanced Development” – with preferential tax treatment and simplified government procedures in Siberia, Kaliningrad, and the Russian Far East.

For more information, please visit the Ministry of Economic Development.

For Further Information
Portal for Customs (in Russian)
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade
Non Tariff Barriers
The certification of products, a complicated procedure, is a barrier to trade.
The agri-food sector is particularly protected with quotas on certain products and very strict phytosanitary standards.
Exporters often say the heavy and unpredictable Russian Customs procedures are a big obstacle.
However, since 2014, Russia has attempted to increase the ease of international trade by implementing an electronic system for submitting export and import documents and by decreasing the number of physical inspections the imports receive.
Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Natural gas and services (liberalization), metallurgy (anti-dumping), intellectual property rights.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Russia 's commercial policy, as seen by the WTO
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the United States
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the EU
Sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, inventoried by the EU

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Standards

National Standards Organisations
Test and Certification Centre (in Russian)
Russian Research Institute for Certification
All Russia Scientific and Research Institute of Information Classification and Coding
Federal Service for Control over Healthcare and Social Development (Roszdravnadzor)
Federal Service for Supervision of Consumers Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor)
Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Surveillance (Rostechnadzor)
Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation
Integration in the International Standards Network
Russia is a member of the International Standards Organisation (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Organisation of Legal Metrology (OIML). It is a signatory to the Metre Convention and an affiliated member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation.
In the framework of the CIS, Russia is an integral part of the EuroAsian Council for Standardisation, Metrology and Certification. It is also a member of the European Organisation for Quality, and of COOMET (EuroAsian Cooperation of National Metrological Institutions).
Obligation to Use Standards
The adoption of standards is voluntary.
Classification of Standards
GOST + 4 figures indicating the rank + 2 figures indicating the technical domain.
Assessment of the System of Standardization
The certification system is unwieldy, complicated and often changes. It is still widely based on tests, even for products which have internationally accepted certification. In addition, it is lacking in transparency, in spite of some progress over the last few years.
Nevertheless, the system is often necessary, as companies in particular are very attached to a system of standards. You are advised to call on experienced distributors or consultants.

Standards regulation is also covered by the Customs Union. For more information please visit the Customs Union website.

Online Consultation of Standards
On-line standards catalogue (Russian Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology)
Certification Organisations
Russian Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology
CCIS
Gost Standard International

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Latest update: June 2022

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