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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 represents 46% of the GDP), despite strict legislation and policies. Russia became a member of the WTO in 2012 and is negotiating a free trade agreement with India. The country is amongst the world's 15 largest exporters and 23 largest importers. It mainly exports hydrocarbons  (48.5% of total exports), iron and steel (5.3%), gems and precious metals (3.1%), machinery (2.4%) and wood (2.2%), and it mainly imports machinery (20% of the total imports), electronic equipment (11.8%), vehicles (9.4%), pharmaceuticals (4.8%) and plastics (3.9%).
Russia's main trade partners are China, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. However, in 2014, the conflict in Ukraine and the economic sanctions imposed by the Western countries have resulted in the Kremlin's placing of an embargo on European and American agricultural products. Also, hydrocarbon exports, which represent a significant proportion of the GDP, have been negatively impacted by the decline in global prices.
The country shows a large trade surplus, due to its rich natural resources, especially hydrocarbons. In the last years the trade balance was declining, reaching roughly USD 90 billion in 2016, but in 2017 it grew again and reached USD 130.1 billion.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 335,446341,335308,027194,087191,406
Exports of Goods (million USD) 529,256523,276497,764340,349281,825
Imports of Services (million USD) 106,717125,742118,90986,86874,379
Exports of Services (million USD) 61,46569,11164,81850,98450,504
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 9.73.5-7.3-25.8-3.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 20.220.420.620.620.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 26.925.827.128.725.7
Trade Balance (million USD) 191,663180,566188,931148,39890,262
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 145,076122,307133,653111,47866,435
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2017; World Bank - 2017


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Netherlands 10.2%
China 9.8%
Germany 7.4%
Belarus 4.9%
Turkey 4.8%
Italy 4.2%
South Korea 3.5%
Kazakhstan 3.3%
United States 3.3%
Japan 3.3%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 20.9%
Germany 10.7%
United States 6.1%
Belarus 5.2%
France 4.7%
Italy 4.3%
Japan 3.7%
South Korea 2.8%
Poland 2.2%
Ukraine 2.2%

Source: Comtrade, 2017


Main Products

285.5 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 25.8%
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 16.1%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 3.1%
Unwrought aluminium 1.7%
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 1.7%
Semi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steel 1.6%
Wheat and meslin 1.5%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 1.4%
Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or barked, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness of > 6 mm 1.1%
Mineral or chemical fertilizers containing two or three of the fertilizing elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; other fertilizers (excl. pure animal or vegetable fertilizers or mineral or chemical nitrogenous, phosphatic or potassic fertilizers); animal, vegetable, mineral or chemical fertilizers in tablets or similar forms or in packages of a gross weight of <= 10 kg 0.9%
182.3 bn USD of products imported in 2016
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) 3.8%
Machinery, plant or laboratory equipment whether or not electrically heated (excl. furnaces, ovens and other equipment of heading 8514), for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change of temperature such as heating, cooking, roasting, distilling, rectifying, sterilizing, pasteurizing, steaming, drying, evaporating, vapourizing, condensing or cooling (excl. those used for domestic purposes); instantaneous or storage water heaters, non-electric; parts thereof 3.4%
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) 3.3%
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. 3.1%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 2.4%
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. 2.3%
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 1.5%
Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, incl. scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight-testing instruments, n.e.s. 0.9%
Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances for pipes, boiler shells, tanks, vats or the like, incl. pressure-reducing valves and thermostatically controlled valves; parts thereof 0.9%
Human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and modified immunological products, whether or not obtained by means of biotechnological processes; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excl. yeasts) and similar products 0.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2017


Main Services

49.1 bn USD of services exported in 2015
Other business services
Construction services
Computer and information services
Communications services
Financial services
Government services
Royalties and license fees
Insurance services
Cultural and recreational services
87.1 bn USD of services imported in 2015
Other business services
Royalties and license fees
Construction services
Computer and information services
Communications services
Financial services
Government services
Insurance services
Cultural and recreational services

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.
Monetary Indicators 20132014201520162017
Russian Rouble (RUB) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 31.8438.3860.9467.0658.34

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


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
Main International Economic Cooperation
Russia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, heir to the Eurasion Economic Community and CIS, which is a free-trade zone and 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 favoured nation status (MFN) and benefits from the generalised system of preferences (GSP) in its relations with the United States.
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets

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.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention

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.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
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
Free Zones
Free zones are called Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

There are 24 free SEZ in the country. There are four categories:
-Technology and innovation zones
-Turism and recreation zones
-Industrial and production zones
-Port zones

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

For Further Information
Russian Customs Service
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

Learn more about How to Export to Russia on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.



National Standards Organisations
Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology
Test and Certification Centre (in Russian)
Russian Research Institute for Certification
All Russia Scientific and Research Institute of Information Classification and Coding (in Russian)
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)
Federal Agency of Svyaz (Rossvyaz) Ministry of Communications and Mass Media
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 catalog
New standards (in English)
Certification Organisations
List of certification organisations
Rostest USA, Inc.
CCIS Specialist in technical regulation in Russia and the CIS.


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Last Updates: May 2018