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Russia

Since 1997 the EU's political and economic relations with Russia have been based on a bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).  The trade-relevant sections of the  Agreement aim to promote trade and investment and develop mutually beneficially economic relations between the EU and Russia. Since 2014 the illegal annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine have seriously affected the bilateral political dialogue. As a result, some of the policy dialogues and mechanisms of cooperation, including in the area of trade, have been suspended.

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

Trade picture

  • Russia is the EU's fifth largest trading partner and the EU is Russia's largest trading partner, with a two-way trade in goods value of €232 billion in 2019. In 2019 Russia was the origin of ca. 40% of EU imports of gas and 27% of EU imports of oil. Due to the large value these imports, EU’s trade deficit with Russia (€ 57 billion in 2019) is only second to EU’s trade deficit with China.
  • EU-Russia bilateral trade in goods peaked in 2012, dropping by 43% between 2012 and 2016 from two-way €322 billion in 2012 to €183 billion in 2016. Since 2016, bilateral trade has partially recovered. However, Overall EU exports to Russia were in 2019 25% lower than in 2012, agri-food exports were 38% lower.
  • In 2019 Russia was the destination of 4,1% of EU global exports, down from 6,7% in 2012. As for the origins of imports into Russia, the EU accounted in 2019 for 35%, down from 39% in 2012.
  • As for exports of goods from Russia, in 2019 the EU was the destination of 42% of them, down from 50% in 2012.

Main EU exports to Russia are in the categories of machinery, transport equipment, medicines, chemicals and other manufactured products.

Main EU imports from Russia are raw materials, especially - oil (crude and refined) and gas, as well as metals (notably iron/steel, aluminium, nickel).

  • As for services, EU exports to Russia amounted in 2019 to € 26,2 billion, imports from Russia to € 12 billion EUR.
  • The EU is the largest investor in Russia, with an estimated stock of €276,8 billion in 2018, or 75% of total FDI stock in Russia. The stock of FDI in the EU from Russia amounted in 2018 to €89,3 billion, or ca. 1% of the total in the EU.

EU-Russia: Trade in goods

Trade in goods 2017-2019, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2017 138.3 82.8 -55.5
2018 160.9 82.3 -78.6
2019 144.5 87.8 -56.7

EU-Russia: Trade in services

Trade in services 2016-2018, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2016 10.3 22.4 12.1
2017 11.7 26.8 15.1
2018 12.3 26.1 13.8

EU-Russia: Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2018, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2018 89.3 276.8 187.5

Unless otherwise mentioned “EU” concerns for all indicated years the current European Union of 27 Member States.

Date of retrieval: 22/04/2020

More statistics on Russia

EU and Russia

The European Union and Russia have an important bilateral trade relation. Russia is the EU's fifth largest trading partner and the EU is Russia's largest trading partner. As reported above, in recent years bilateral trade flows went through severe fluctuations.

A first factor is the evolution of the price of oil, with a sharp decline in 2012-2016 and a recovery in 2017-2018, as well as the related depreciation of the Ruble in 2014-2015.

A second factor is the policy of import substitution progressively deployed by Russia since 2012, largely coinciding with Russia’s accession to the WTO. The accession to the WTO had raised the expectation that trade with Russia would benefit from sustained liberalisation. Instead, Russia has progressively put in place numerous measures favouring domestic products and services over foreign ones, and incentivising localisation of production in Russia by foreign companies. Related measures often contravene the spirit and/or the letter of WTO rules and are the origin of many trade irritants. Since Russia joined the WTO in 2012, the EU has filed four disputes in the WTO against Russia:

  • 2014 on Russia's excessive import duties. The WTO 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 WTO commitments.
  • 2014 on Russia's embargo on EU pig meat on the basis of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements. As a result of panel and Appellate Body proceedings, the WTO confirmed that Russia's ban was illegal. Russia was obliged to bring its measures in line with its World Trade Organization commitments, however it extended the scope of the 2014 political ban to cover also EU pig meat. The case is currently the object of a WTO compliance panel.
  • 2014 on Russia's anti-dumping duties on light commercial vehicles: following panel and Appellate Body proceedings the WTO declared certain aspects of the duties inconsistent with its rules. Russia implemented the decision.
  • 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 also cover locally-produced motor vehicles, and introduced parallel compensatory measures for these. The case is currently on hold.

Russia has also filed four disputes at the WTO against the EU.

  • 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.

All four of them are currently on-going. Further information on Russia as a member of the World Trade Organization is available.

A third factor affecting trade relations with Russia are political measures restricting trade, i.e. sanctions. In July 2014, in response to Russia’s responsibility in the events in Ukraine, the EU adopted economic sanctions against Russia targeting four sectors: access to finance, arms, dual-use goods, and specific technologies for oil production and exploration. More information on these measures is available here.

On 7 August 2014, Russia introduced a political ban on imports of a range of EU agricultural products. The product scope was further extended in October 2017. More information available here.

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 became the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in 2015. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joined the EAEU on the same year. The EAEU has legal competence in many trade-relevant policy areas, such as customs, competition, trade defence agricultural and industrial product regulation, intellectual property rights and foreign trade policy.

Trading with Russia

Rules and requirements for trading with Russia:

Other aspects of EU-Russia relations: