It’s very easy to be negative about Russia - journalists just love this sort of stories. “Russia is not an easy market, but it’s a great market”, said Trevor Barton, Executive Director of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce (RBCC) in Nottingham this week. The event was on successful exporting to the Eurasian Economic Union and was organised by the Russia Midlands Business Club with the support from the RBCC and the Schneider Group.
Trevor Barton opened the seminar, briefly outlining business opportunities currently available in Russia. Among them is E-commerce which is booming in Russia as Russians enjoy the convenience of online shopping and the abundance of choice it has to offer. Russia stretches across 9 time zones, which in effect grasps the essence of its full potential. Logistics companies and businesses focused on infrastructure services can capitalise on the commercial prospects available, even if you take just the FIFA 2018 World Cup.
Trevor Barton of Russo-British Chamber of Commerce on trade opportunities in Russia.
Russia’s population is reducing, with the life expectancy fairly low, so there is a high demand for medical expertise, effective drugs and better procedures. Russians are also under-pensioned and under-insured, so there are opportunities not to be missed by financial services companies.
Russia is not all about oil and gas, Russians value quality education highly and favour Britain among the countries which offer the level of education they want for their children. Luxury goods companies have enjoyed demand in the Russian market for a while too. Russians have ambition, they want a better life for themselves and the next generations to come.
The sanctions which have been recently imposed on Russia are very specific, they extend to a very limited number of areas and to specific people.
While the Russian economy may not be quite out of the woods yet, UK export specialists believe that the worst is behind and it’s now time to position your company so it’s geared up when the Russian economy picks up properly again.
Trevor gave a good example of Cadbury which has the biggest factory outside the EU in the Russian city of Novgorod. With Russians opting for darker chocolate rather than the milky type, the company had to adapt the range of products for the Russian market and such is their success that the company is believed to be considering exporting this kind of dark chocolate back to the UK!
Dmitry Sazhin of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation in the UK also gave a presentation with further case studies of successful foreign projects and opportunities available in Russia. And Bettina Wisthaler of the Schneider Group delivered a very useful and detailed session on Customs & Technical Regulations for the Eurasian Economic Union which counts Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan among its member states. If you hear of trucks being stuck for weeks at the Russian border, treat such stories with a pinch of salt: if it does happen, it’s only because the exporters didn't do their homework!
Bettina Wisthaler giving an overview of Eurasian Economic Union.
Before entering the Russian market it’s worth talking to specialist lawyers who will advise you that it’s no good having an arbitration clause in your contract if the outcome of the arbitration process is unenforceable in Russia! And although language is not a barrier as such, with English skills valued as essential in business, Department for International Trade advisers also recommend that companies entering the Russian market have their business cards and company information translated into Russia, in which case you can speak to us at Talk Russian!
Yelena McCafferty with one of Talk Russian's clients who also attended the seminar.
[Tip: if you need assistance with Russian translations, call us on 0207 0436940 or email email@example.com.]