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flag Russia Russia: Selling and Buying

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

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
Main International Economic Cooperation
Russia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Community, heir to the CIS, which is a free-trade zone and aims to build a common economic area.
It has signed a partnership and cooperation agreement with the European Union which aims to create a common economic area. It generally enjoys most favored nation status (MFN) and benefits from the generalized system of preferences (GSP) in its relations with the United States.
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.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Since its official entry to the WTO on 22 August 2012, Russia has committed to implement all the provisions of the WTO, including an average tariff of 7.8% for goods.

Customs Classification
Russia implements the Harmonized Customs System. The Customs tariff includes 11 032 tariff lines.
Import Procedures
The Customs declaration can be made by the informant of a company that comes under Russian law and sent to the Customs office where this company has previously been registered. A company exporting to Russia can also call in a Customs broker who will take charge of carrying out Customs formalities in its name. Clearance inward, with immediate payment of duties and taxes, is the regime most commonly used by operators exporting to Russia.

The procedures and conditions to import merchandises in Russia have changed 2010 with the entry in force of the Customs Union (CU) between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

All importation must to present a freight declaration. This declaration shall be accompanied by the following documents:
-Commercial invoices and packing list
-Transport documents
-Import licences (if applicable)
-Certificates of conformity
-Certificates of origin (if applicable)
-Sanitary certificates (if applicable)

Foreign good circuling in the Customs Union (CU) (Russia, Kazakhstan Belarus) area are customs cleared at the CU's border. After that, good are free to circulate in the CU area without additional customs controls.

In the case of temporary entry, goods could be full or partially exempt of customs duties and import VAT for a period up to two years.

For more information, please visit the Customs Union website.

Importing Samples
Commercial samples are exempt of customs duties and import TVA for a period up to two years if they are used only for promotional proposes. Biological samples and samples of medicines must be accompanied by specific certificates.
For Further Information
Russian Customs Service
Portal for Customs
Russia Trade Portal
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade

Learn more about Traders, Agents in Russia on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
The consumer is impulsive.
He attaches great importance to brands and the quality of a product, as well as its life span for people with a modest income. The price is often only secondary but Russians are nevertheless attracted to "bargains".
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
Russians do not save very much and this is especially due to the bank system's lack of reliability. They often spend more than 80% of their income.
The emerging middle class includes 25 million inhabitants and generates 80% of demand in the country. They appreciate the western way of life. Russian customer is educated and sophisticated.
Consumers Associations
SPROS , The Russian consumer federation.
Rospotrebnadzor , The Federal service on customers' rights protection and human well-being surveillance.
Main Advertising Agencies
News Outdoor, a subsidiary of NewsCorp
Magma, a member of the Media Arts Group, a subsidiary of Publicis
List of agencies which are members of the WWP group
ADV Group

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
The Russian market represents 200 billion USD according to the Federal State Statistics Service and has grown by about 13% per year over the last few years. Nevertheless, according to several research bureaux, the market could in fact easily be higher than 300 billion USD and have grown by 30 to 40% per year in reality.
Whereas distribution systems were practically inexistent at the fall of the USSR, the almost total privatization and liberalization of the sector have led to a rapid market transformation. Supermarket chains began to develop in the 1990s and the present structure integrates the components of the western model. There are well organised distribution channels especially in Moscow and St Petersburg. They are developing rapidly in other regions. Geographical coverage is still a big challenge in Russian market.
Market Shares
An essential part of distribution is still carried out by means of stalls and markets. They represent more than half of sales, with 20% for open air markets. Being able to use these channels is often the key to success in Russia.
As regards chains, the market is dominated by supermarkets which represent more than half of sales.
Hypermarkets have appeared recently (opening of the first Auchan in 2002), and are already reaching 10% of total turnover; they have strong potential. They target a relatively well-off clientele.
The share of discount stores is also about 20%, but the market seems to be more saturated.
Finally, local shops represent from 10% to 15% of chain sales.
Organizations in the Retail Sector
Sector-based alert
Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Even if the rolling stock needs modernizing, the rail network is the most used means of goods transport.
It represents 7% of global traffic.
There are no motorways and the infrastructure is inadequate for goods transport (19% of all goods traffic). Nevertheless, projects are underway to open up the country towards the West.
Russia has 41 large ports of which only 11 are equipped with infrastructures for import-export; the biggest one is St Petersburg (42 million tons). The country is open to the sea on 3 sides: the Baltic sea, the Black sea and the Pacific Ocean. The government has an ambitious modernization project and wants to increase the capacities of port terminals.
Domestic air freight is not widespread.
St Petersburg
Sheremetyevo (Moscow)
Domededovo (Moscow)
Pulkovo (St Petersburg)
Koltsovo (Yekaterinburg)
Novosibirsk International Airport
Vnukovo (Moscow)
Sea Transport Organizations
Federal Agency for sea and river transport (RosMorRechFlot)
Air Transport Organizations
Federal air transport agency (Rosaviatsia)
Road Transport Organizations
Federal road transport agency (RosAvtoDor)
Rail Transport Organizations
Federal rail transport agency (RosZhelDor)

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
Industry represents about a quarter of the GDP and a sixth of all employment. The trend is towards a drop.
Traditionally the most developed sectors are heavy industry (metallurgy and chemicals) as well as the automobile industry and aeronautics.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Cosmetics in Russia - List of cosmetic shops and stores in Russia. - Russia - Directory of companies in Russia. - Directory of businesses in Kaliningrad.
Grand Encyclopedia of Russian Goods and Services Producers - An encyclopedia of Russian goods and service providers in the Internet.
InfoDriveIndia Business Directory - Find actual buyers and suppliers from three countries. Export-import customs data.
Openrussia - Partners search system.
Rusadres - Find businesses in Russia.
Rusmarket - Russian businesses directory.
Russian Yellow Pages - Russia's business directory.
The Yellow Pages - Find a business in Russia.
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
31 professional associations listed for Russia.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Moscow Trade House
Enterprises Federation
Russian union of industrialists and businessmen

Learn more about Service Providers in Russia on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: January 2015