Russia's 2022 parallel imports hit 4% of 2021 overall imports

Published Mon, Aug 15, 2022 · 11:45 PM

PARALLEL imports to Russia, which Moscow launched in March to circumvent some trading restrictions, will reach US$16 billion this year, the minister of industry and trade said on Monday (Aug 15), a figure that accounts for around 4 per cent of 2021 overall imports.

Russia has included a wide range of products from foreign carmakers, technology companies and consumer brands in the parallel imports scheme, aimed at shielding consumers from business isolation by the West after regular imports slumped due to sanctions and logistics disruptions.

Denis Manturov, who is also Russia’s deputy prime minister, told reporters that parallel imports to Russia reached US$6 billion in the May-to-July period. He did not provide details on parallel imports that Russia gave the green light to after sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb 24.

The full-year parallel imports assessment that he provided accounts for 4.2 per cent of Russia’s overall imports, according to Reuters calculations based on the central bank’s data on the country’s 2021 balance of payments.

Russia suspended publication of fresh import and export data from April.

The parallel imports mechanism allows a Russian company to buy goods from any company outside Russia, including from the country of the goods’ origin, that earlier purchased those goods legally, a source at the Russian trade ministry has told Reuters, explaining the scheme.

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Customs services are paid, and the shipments are legal from Russia’s point of view, analysts say, but prices may be higher due to the extra logistics involved. REUTERS

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