Alexander Knobel, Head of the International Trade Department at the Gaidar Institute, commented to “Nezavisimaya gazeta” on the capacity of parallel imports to Russia.

According to the publication, Russia managed to build an effective model of parallel imports, but other member countries faced a threat to fall under the anti-Russian sanctions. Moreover, parallel imports do not satisfy demand in all market segments and do not curb price growth everywhere. Supplies take place, however, sometimes not as quickly as required, and the final price of products is sometimes higher than what buyers had planned to pay. Meanwhile, agencies express conflicting opinions about the parallel import mechanism. The Ministry of Industry and Trade calls for reducing the list of parallel imports expecting that Russian brands will replace the withdrawn ones and fill the stores within 2-3 years, while the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) believes that it is correct to allow parallel imports of all goods, except those whose production is localized in Russia.

Meanwhile, the U.S. announced a package of sanctions which is being prepared to comply with the restrictions against Russia. Now the situation is aggravated by the fear of a number of countries to fall under the anti-Russian sanctions: the news is already actively discussing the problem of supplying goods through Kazakhstan. This could most severely affect the availability of certain brands of home appliances.

“Recent data on Japan show that supply of consumer goods (primarily vehicles) has recovered relatively well, but the direct supply of machinery and equipment is dozens of times lower than before the crisis. The situation is similar in terms of parallel imports, i.e. it is easier to organize it for final consumption goods, which are less important for domestic production. The supply of vehicles and equipment requires post-sales service, which is more difficult to conduct “in a gray area.” In this sense, the example of the aviation industry is illustrative, where, judging by news publications, no reliable channel for the supply of spare parts has been established. Speaking about the risks of secondary sanctions, it should be understood that they will begin to sharply restrict parallel imports only when such sanctions will be massively imposed. Few large companies will risk continuing to supply to Russia and their governments to facilitate this due to the greater importance of developed country markets for almost all trading partners. For example, China, a major trading partner, would hardly trade its more important markets of the United States, the EU, Japan, and South Korea for the sake of the Russian market, which accounts for only 2.9% of its exports,” Alexander Knobel shared his opinion.