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Since 1997 the EU's political and economic relations with Russia have been based on a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).  The Agreement aims to promote trade and investment and develop harmonious economic relations between the EU and Russia.

Since 2012, when Russia joined the WTO, EU-Russia trade relations have also been framed by WTO rules.


Trade picture

  • Russia is the EU's fourth largest trading partner and the EU is Russia's biggest trading partner.
  • EU-Russia trade has continuously decreased since 2012, dropping by 44% between 2012 and 2016 from €339 billion in 2012 to €191 billion in 2016.
  • Main EU exports to Russia:
    • machinery
    • transport equipment
    • chemicals
    • medicines
    • manufactured products
  • Main EU imports from Russia:
    • raw materials, especially - oil (crude and refined), gas
  • The EU is the biggest investor in Russia. Three quarters of Foreign Direct Investment stocks in Russia come from EU Member States, 30% from Cyprus alone

EU-Russia: Trade in goods

Trade in goods 2016-2018, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2016 118.9 72.4 -46.4
2017 145.0 86.0 -59.0
2018 168.3 85.2 -83.1

EU-Russia: Trade in services

Trade in services 2015-2017, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2015 12.2 25.8 13.7
2016 11.3 25.0 13.7
2017 12.6 29.1 16.5

EU-Russia: Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2017, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2017 83.6 216.1 132.6

Date of retrieval: 17/04/2019

More statistics on Russia

EU and Russia

The European Union and Russia have strong trade relations, though trade has dropped since Russia acceded to the World Trade Organization in 2012.

In 2008 the EU and Russia began negotiating a new agreement aiming at providing a comprehensive framework for bilateral trade and investment relations. In March 2014 the European Council suspended the negotiations due to the situation in Ukraine.

In 2010 Russia created a Customs Union with Kazakhstan and Belarus.  This Customs Union has become the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in 2015. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joined the EEU the same year.

Russia and membership of the World Trade Organization

Russia joined the World Trade Organization in 2012. At that time there were high expectations that trade with Russia would be liberalised.  Trade flows between the EU and Russia have steadily decreased since 2012, though – a trend observed with all Russia's main trade partners.

Five years after its accession to the World Trade Organization, Russia is still not meeting all its commitments. Russia's import substitution policy launched in 2014 puts in question its willingness to comply with World Trade Organization rules. The EU will continue to use all the available bilateral and multilateral policy instruments, as appropriate, to make sure World Trade Organization rules are respected. Respect for them is a key element for improving trade and investment relations with Russia in the long term.

The EU has filed four disputes in the World Trade Organization against Russia since it joined in August 2012:

  • 2014 on Russia's excessive import duties. The World Trade Organization confirmed that Russia's import duties violated its rules. Since May 2017, Russia has lowered its import duties on the tariff lines challenged in line with its World Trade Organization commitments.
  • 2014 on Russia's embargo on EU pig meat. As a result of panel and Appellate Body proceedings, the World Trade Organization confirmed that Russia's ban is illegal. Russia is now obliged to bring its measures in line with its World Trade Organization commitments.
  • 2014 on Russia's anti-dumping duties on light commercial vehicles: the World Trade Organization declared certain aspects of the duties inconsistent with its rules. Russia has appealed and the EU has counter-appealed. Appellate proceedings are on-going.
  • 2013 on Russia's recycling fee on imported motor vehicles: following consultations in the World Trade Organization and the EU's request for a dispute settlement panel to be set up, Russia extended the recycling fee to cover locally-produced motor vehicles.

On its side, Russia has filed four disputes against the EU. As of May 2017, the World Trade Organization has not yet ruled on in any of the disputes:

  • 2014 on the EU's third energy package
  • 2013 and 2015 on gas cost-adjustment in EU anti-dumping investigations.
  • 2017 on EU anti-dumping measures on imports of certain cold-rolled flat steel products from Russia.

Trading with Russia