flag Russia Russia: Trade Profile

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 44% of GDP (World Bank), despite strict laws and policies. Russia became a member of the WTO in 2012, is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which has established a free trade area, and is a member of the Eurasian Customs Union. Russia was the 12th exporter and 27th importer of goods in the world in 2022 (WTO). It mainly exports hydrocarbons (around 40% of total exports), coal, gold, and iron; while imports are driven by telephones (3.9%), parts and accessories for tractors and motor vehicles (3.6%), medicaments (3.2%), and vehicles (2.7% - data Comtrade 2022).

In 2021, Russia's main customers were China (14%), the Netherlands (8.6%), Germany (6%), Türkiye (5.4%), and Belarus (4.7%). Conversely, imports came chiefly from China (24.8%), Germany (9.3%), the United States (5.9%), Belarus (5.3%), and South Korea (4.4% - Comtrade, latest data available). The conflict between Russia and Ukraine resulted in substantial trade redirection for Russia, particularly favouring Russian mineral oil and gas exports from Europe to Asia. The trade adaptations are primarily driven by increases in import prices, with noticeable variations among product categories and geographic areas. Despite the voluntary reduction in gas exports and the oil embargo implemented by EU countries, soaring oil and gas prices, along with the redirection of energy exports to non-sanctioned countries, contributed to record energy export revenues.

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. According to the latest WTO data, Russia exported USD 588.3 billion worth of goods in 2022 and imported USD 288.3 billion (+19% and -7.7% y-o-y, respectively). In the same year, the country exported USD 49 billion in services (-13%) and imported USD 70.8 billion (-7.1%). Russia’s trade balance was estimated to be positive by 12.6% of its GDP in 2022 by the World Bank, from 9.2% one year earlier. According to preliminary data from the Central Bank of Russia, Russia's current account surplus decreased to approximately USD 50 billion in 2023. The value of goods and services exports declined by 28% during the same period to around USD 460 billion. Conversely, the value of goods and services imports grew by 9% for the entirety of 2023, reaching around USD 380 billion.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 248,856253,876240,088304,013280,353
Exports of Goods (million USD) 443,914419,721333,530494,350588,328
Imports of Services (million USD) 94,72899,00064,83276,23070,809
Exports of Services (million USD) 64,64662,78648,64556,48249,098

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO), Latest data available.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 51.649.246.050.643.8
Trade Balance (million USD) 195,058165,84593,441190,337314,124
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 164,976129,32876,653169,955291,566
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.73.1-11.919.1-15.0
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.60.7-4.23.3-13.9
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 20.820.820.420.715.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 30.828.425.529.928.2

Source: World Bank, Latest data available.

 
Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -7.55.73.93.13.1
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 10.92.42.52.62.4

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook, Latest data available.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2021
China 14.0%
Netherlands 8.6%
Germany 6.0%
Türkiye 5.4%
Belarus 4.7%
See More Countries 61.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
China 24.8%
Germany 9.3%
United States 5.9%
Belarus 5.3%
South Korea 4.4%
See More Countries 50.3%

Source: UN Comtrade Database, Latest data available.

 

Main Products

492.3 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 22.5%
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 14.2%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels...Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 3.6%
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 3.5%
Semi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steelSemi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steel 1.9%
See More Products 54.3%
293.5 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 3.9%
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. 3.6%
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) 3.2%
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) 2.7%
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%
See More Products 83.9%

Source: UN Comtrade Database, Latest data available.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import/Export flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest data available.

 

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 THB 1.901.721.942.092.30

Source: World Bank, Latest data available.

 
 

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

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Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
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. Russia's membership in international organizations is outlined here.
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-trade 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)
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
Federal Service for Supervision of Consumers Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor)
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
Gost Standard International

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Latest Update: February 2024