Russia legalizes smuggling in the face of sanctions imposed by the US and the EU | Economy

A store in Moscow of Zara, which left Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine.
A store in Moscow of Zara, which left Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine.MAXIM SHIPENKOV (EFE)

The Russian authorities will look the other way when some foreign products are sold in the country without the consent of their manufacturers. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed the law that legalizes what his government has called “parallel imports” into Russia. That is, smuggling de facto. “This approach will allow us to guarantee the supply of goods even despite the hostile actions of foreign politicians,” the senior official told a commission to protect the economy against international sanctions caused by the invasion of Ukraine.

The list of goods likely to be smuggled will be drawn up shortly by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in accordance with the recommendations transmitted by the rest of the government agencies. According to this organization, the “exhaustion of trademark rights” will not apply to all products, but only to those necessary “to complete the consumer market.”

Industry explained days before the great nuances of this law. “It is important to understand that parallel importation does not mean the legalization of counterfeit goods. We are talking about importing original goods through alternative channels,” explained the Ministry of Industry in a notification to the TASS news agency. The Russian government also emphasizes that the “parallel import”, or “grey market”, as it calls it, will be subject “to all the necessary customs controls and procedures”, and the products will have a guarantee for which the importer will be responsible.

Sanctions by the United States, the European Union and numerous other countries, including Japan, Switzerland, Australia and Canada, for the invasion of Ukraine have caused countless multinationals to suspend their activities or even leave the Russian market. Although these restrictions began a little over a month ago and there has not yet been a noticeable shortage in Russian stores, the authorities are concerned that this could happen soon.

Collection of medicines

For example, the Ministry of Health announced this Wednesday a bill that will give it the right to collect “individual medicines that are not in circulation” to redistribute them in areas where they are scarce; and according to the newspaper KommersantDeputy Minister Tatiana Golikova ordered to search for drugs that are not produced in Russia or in friendly countries in case those imported from hostile nations are missing, including 39 drugs for cancer treatments.

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For its part, the newspaper RBK has published that electronics stores have stocks in their warehouses “for two or three months.” While some manufacturers such as Samsung or Apple have stopped their sales, other companies such as China’s Xiaomi have halved their mobile phone exports, according to the newspaper. New York Times. The lack of protection for manufacturers is one more step in Russia’s rupture with the World Trade Organization (WTO), which also ensures the protection of intellectual property in its partner countries.

“The objective of our mechanism is to satisfy the demand for goods developed by intellectual activity. Until now they could not be sold in our nation without the permission of the copyright holder,” said Mishustin. His country entered the WTO in 2012 after lengthy negotiations, and a decade later he could leave.

The international organization received in mid-March 14 from its members “a declaration of intent” to withdraw Russia’s status as a most favored nation in trade, which would mean, if applied, that it would pay much higher tariffs. Among them, the United States, Japan and the European Union, which by doing so together counted as a single member. Likewise, they also requested to suspend the process for the accession of Belarus, whose regime served as the basis for the Russian troops to begin their offensive against kyiv on February 24.

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