Exporting to Russia

Russia is one of the largest countries on the planet. Its rich and complex history makes it a captivating country to explore and economically very powerful.

Russia has the 9th largest economy in the world, a huge population and is only a three hour flight away from London.

Exporting to Russia can seem quite daunting; what with its vast changing landscapes, 9 different time zones and history of political unrest, it is very different to the rest of Europe. Its business culture is also starkly different to that of Western Europe with its strict rules and laws. The intimidating reputation that precedes Russia can make it seem a challenging place to attempt to do business but it can be somewhere very desirable to trade, especially when you know how.

There are a lot of benefits to UK businesses exporting to Russia. Russian people really respect UK made brands, especially in the retail and luxury sector, and currently there are only around 600 UK companies with a business presence in Russia so it’s a great time to enter the market.

The challenges that exporting to Russia involves are mainly down to social and economic factors across its large scale. Different regions have very different rules and regulations so doing thorough research into the customs of the area you wish to trade in is essential. For example, trading in Siberia is very different to trading in places like Sochi in southern Russia. The main forms of business activity by UK companies in Russia are: engineering products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, consumer goods and education.

There are plenty of business opportunities in Russia. The banking and retail sectors are looking especially prosperous for UK businesses right now. Currently, Moscow is trying to establish itself as an International Financial Centre so there are opportunities for developing legal and financial services including risk management and data processing. The retail industry is rapidly expanding especially in premium products like spirits, confectionary and luxury designer fashion.

More industrial ventures in the mining and engineering sectors are also welcomed. Russian heavy industry is in need of a revival so businesses which offer tools, machinery, parts and components for manufacturing and assembly should be looking now. The Russian government is hoping to increase state support for its metals and mining companies so trade in this area should only rapidly expand in the near future.

There are strict control measures and regulations to follow, but as long as you adhere to the rules, exporting to Russia can be hugely beneficial. First, you have to ensure you have the correct documentation- this significantly speeds up the shipping process. If you plan to do a business to consumer shipment, be aware that Russia only allows these under an approved licence. International documentation can be difficult to understand so make sure you fully understand what exactly is required at each stage. There are also a lot of items prohibited in Russia- researching these is also very important.

For commercial shipments several documents including an original invoice with all the full details, copy of the insurance certificate, a translation of the pro forma invoice and many more are required. A lot of Russian people don’t speak English very well so learning some Russian before you start the proceedings can be very beneficial. Using a shipping service like the one TNT offer makes exporting to countries where processes are a bit more complicated much simpler and takes away a lot of the worry.

So if you’re planning to explore business opportunities in Russia then don’t hesitate. For those businesses that persevere with all the legalities and formalities Russian businesses require, the venture can prove to be very lucrative. Initially it can seem like a bit of a mine field but if you invest in the help of a courier like TNT you’ll find it’s a lot simpler than you first thought.