Russian economy in permanent crisis. Under pressure on many fronts – embargoes, oil price collapse, ruble devaluation – Moscow is risking a new policy and making a virtue out of necessity, that is to say switching from a heavily raw material dependent export economy to one that is diversified, inwardly-oriented and as autonomous as possible. New know-how and new capacities are to be created in various key industries, with whose innovations and productive capacity expensive foreign imports are to be replaced on the basis of the so-called import substitution program.
Consequently, foreign companies find themselves confronted by new challenges in Russia. From now on, domestic products (for example in public invitations to tender) will be clearly preferred in many industries and the import of foreign goods further impeded (for example by more restrictive import regulations, additional technical trade barriers, contingent rules or increases in fees).
But conversely, there will also be a multitude of business opportunities. On the one hand, as part of the wide-ranging and generously supported development and expansion of entire industries, from their development and planning and the modernization of production facilities to the establishment and organization of modern management, marketing, sales and distribution structures. And on the other hand, through investments on the spot in their own development, production and sales locations, investments that are normally made easier than ever for foreign companies if they promote the goals of the import substitution program.
The areas of MEM (machinery, electronics, metals), foodstuffs, construction (and construction-related business), automotive, IT, medical technology and chemicals/pharmaceuticals are particularly affected. They are the focus of a set of guidelines (Practical Guide: Import Substitution in Russia) of the Switzerland Business Hub Russia and a webinar of Switzerland Global Enterprise on the same subject (on September 14).