Logistic and forwarding services in Russia

Russian Federation

Capital City

142,9 Mio.

National languages

Russian Ruble (Rbl)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 1‘861 Mrd.

GNP per person
USD 12’718

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 2,3 Mia.

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 1.58 Mia.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Russia

In 2014, Switzerland and Russia celebrated 200 years of diplomatic relations. Russia is a priority country of Swiss foreign policy. Relations between the two countries are robust and well established and have become closer since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2007.

Economic cooperation

Russia is a large market with great potential for Swiss companies. Switzerland is committed to creating optimal conditions for Swiss businesses and has an action plan on developing economic relations to achieve this. A bilateral mixed economic commission meets on an annual basis.
The Swiss Business Hub, which is integrated within the Swiss embassy, advises Swiss companies intending to enter the Russian market and promotes Switzerland as a business location.


Business language

Russian (although it is no longer the official language in individual Republics, Russian is the only linguistic bridge; accepted in international correspondence), German, English, French.

Dimensions and weights

Metric system.


National currency 1 Ruble (Rbl) = 100 Kopeken

ISO code: RUB

Customs tariff

Harmonised system. Customs clearance based on the transaction value.

Import control

The EU has imposed extensive sanctions on the Russian Federation divided into a weapons embargo, restrictions on trade and services and financial sanctions. More information can be found on the BAFA homepage. Russia has a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan within which uniform restrictions on import apply.

Import licences are not required for the majority of goods with the exception of: industrial waste, precious metals, pharmaceutical products, radio and electrical devices (high frequency technology), medical equipment and devices, encrypted technology, explosives, carpets, textile flooring, chemical pesticides, tobacco, ethyl alcohol, vodka and other alcoholic drinks. There are also extensive special provisions for individual goods (e.g. high customs duties on used vehicles that are more than seven years old). There is an obligation to use electronically recordable tax labels when trading in alcoholic drinks.

As a response to the sanctions imposed by the EU, Russia has imposed bans on the import of dairy and meat products and some types of fruit from the EU, the USA, Australia, Canada and Norway (this will likely be limited to a year).

There are foreign currency controls for transactions from a value of USD 50,000. From this value the importer must request a Passport of Deal from a licensed bank.

Standard VAT rate: 18%. Input tax deduction and reimbursement possible but strict requirements must be complied with (talk to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce).

Customs clearance fees between 55 and 100.000 RUR depending on the value of the goods.



Terms of payment and tenders

We advise against delivery on open account; confirmed letter of credit or payment in advance. In the case of imports against payment in advance the full foreign currency value in Rubles at the daily exchange rate must be deposited with the central bank (only applies to trade in goods, not services). In addition to this, the goods must pass the Russian border after a maximum of 180 days.

Paying for goods is problematic. There is no assurance of the creditworthiness of customers or banks, Offers of offsetting transactions or investment opportunities in Rubles are becoming more interesting.

Bartering plays a major role. Tenders in EUR free to the border of Germany, use of Incoterms 2010 is very standard. Warning: payment and offsetting may only be in Rubles.

Export credit insurance is possible.

Designations of origin

All goods must be marked with the country of origin. Indicating the origin: “Made in … “ or “…” (name of the country). Comply with the obligation for certain products to be labelled in Russian.



Safety certificates in accordance with the State Standards Commission (GOST). An inspection report from a laboratory or a company which has previously been accredited by the GZE is deemed to be evidence (ask the importer and sources of information in Swiss about the details). The goods themselves, the packaging, the technical accompanying documentation or the label must be labelled with the GOST-R conformity mark. Caution: there are many untrustworthy offers of certification. Ask the Chamber of Foreign Trade in Moscow, Tel.: (007/095) 23 44 950, email: Labelling of goods subject to consumer protection (such as food products) must be in Russian Testing in Swiss. Entry into force of various Technical Regulations (TR) in 2012, declarations of conformity required as evidence of safety for the import of certain goods (for more information see Pages/tecnicalreglament.aspx).



The labelling obligations should be clarified with the trading partner in advance.



Use stable wood pulp or wooden boxes, cardboard boxes are not sufficient. The usual requirements include the fact that the goods must be packaged such that they can withstand storage in the open air for one year. A precise indication of the sender and recipient company, the total number of packages and the type of packaging must be indicated on all packages.


Product samples

Samples with no retail value are subject to customs duties.

ATA Carnet procedure permitted. Taking the German identity certificate (INF3) is recommended. Russia has accepted the ATA Carnet for the temporary use of various goods since 15/05/2000. However, we advise against exhibiting in the country since despite the carnets waiting times and expensive customs processes should be expected. Details on this can be obtained from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.


Shipping and accompanying documents

a) Commercial invoices, 2 copies signed and with all standard information including the country of origin, gross and net weight, trademark, number, discounts etc., uncertified (must be in Russian for import). For free shipments, the pro forma invoice must indicate the unit and total price with the note “only for customs clearance”.

b) Certificates of origin, 1 copy required. As the origin, indicate “Swiss” in the case of Swiss goods, or “European Union” for goods originating from UE.

c) Packing lists, 5 copies, Russian or German (with the exception of raw materials and chemicals). Bills of lading do not require certification.

d) Postal packages up to 20 kg: 1 international dispatch note, 2 customs declarations in Russian/French, airmail postal packages up to 10 kg the same bust the international dispatch note must have an “airmail” sticker; airmail: air consignment note, 2 commercial invoices, uncertified. Rail freight: 1 international consignment note (CIM). International customs registrations are not required.

e) When shipping goods for exhibition purposes various special regulations apply (ask the trade fair freight forwarder).

f) Often required: guarantee letter from the exporter.

Generally has to contain the following points: 1. Guarantee that the goods delivered meet the highest levels of technology, 2. Guarantee of the completeness and quality of the goods delivered, 3. Guarantee that the goods delivered were manufactured in full compliance with the details of the purchase contract, 4. Guarantee to remain liable for the goods delivered for … months.