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Trade in Russia - statistics & facts

Russia accounted for 1.9 percent of global merchandise exports in 2020, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The country plays a major role in exports of agrifoods, fertilizers, energy, and metals. It was the world's 16th-largest exporter in 2020. In recent years, the orientation of Russian trade shifted from Europe to Asia-Pacific. However, many European Union (EU) members continued to rely on Russian mineral resources. Russia accounted for nearly 47 percent of extra-EU imports of natural gas in the first half of 2021.

Russia's leading export commodities

Russia was the third-leading oil-exporter after the United States and Saudi Arabia. In 2020, Russia exported over 7.4 million barrels of crude oil and oil products daily. Mineral products made up over 56 percent of its exports, which made the economy heavily dependent on them. Furthermore, Russia was a major exporter of wheat, fertilizers, aluminum, palladium, and nickel. Its share of global wheat exports was close to 21 percent in 2020. Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which started in February 2022, put these commodities at risk of supply chain disruptions and price increases.

Russia's key trade partners

China was Russia's major trade partner as a single country; however, the trade revenue with the EU was significantly higher. The Netherlands and the United Kingdom (UK) were Russia's leading export destinations after China, while Germany and the United States were the country's second- and third-largest import origins, respectively. Furthermore, Russia established a single market and a customs union with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). In recent years, Russia strengthened cooperation with countries in Africa and hosted the Russia-Africa Summit in 2019 and 2022.

Sanctions' impact on Russian trade

When Western sanctions were imposed on Russia due to its annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia's trade revenue dropped by one third in 2015. Russia placed a food embargo from Western countries and launched an extensive import substitution program. From February 2022, Western allies further restricted trade with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions included exports of selected high-tech produce, machinery, and luxury goods, as well as imports of some mineral commodities. Furthermore, over 750 foreign companies suspended their operations in Russia as of April 2022, according to the Yale University. Russia was expected to continue promoting nationalization of its economy and to substitute some of the sanctioned goods and services with imports from China.

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