Russia shipped US$285.5 billion worth of products around the globe in 2016. That figure represents roughly 1.8% of overall global exports estimated at $16.236 trillion one year earlier in 2016.
From a continental perspective, 55% of Russian exports by value are delivered to European countries while 35.7% are sold to Asian importers. Russia ships another 4% worth of goods to Africa with 3.8% going to North America.
Russia’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Russia’s top trading partners in terms of export sales, revealing which countries imported the most Russian shipments by dollar value during 2016. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Russian exports.
- Netherlands: US$29.3 billion (10.2% of total Russian exports)
- China: $28 billion (9.8%)
- Germany: $21.3 billion (7.4%)
- Belarus: $14.1 billion (4.9%)
- Turkey: $13.7 billion (4.8%)
- Italy: $11.9 billion (4.2%)
- South Korea: $10 billion (3.5%)
- Kazakhstan: $9.4 billion (3.3%)
- United States: $9.4 billion (3.3%)
- Japan: $9.4 billion (3.3%)
- Poland: $9.1 billion (3.2%)
- United Kingdom: $7 billion (2.5%)
- Finland: $6.5 billion (2.3%)
- Ukraine: $6.3 billion (2.2%)
- Belgium: $5.7 billion (2%)
Some two-thirds (66.9%) of Russian exports in 2016 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Increasing their import purchases from Russia at the fastest pace were: South Korea (up by 76.3%), China (up by 68.1%) and Belgium (up by 41.9%).
Decliners posted decreases in Russian imports ranging from -54.4% for Ukraine and -52.4% for Italy to -16.4% for Turkey and -15.9% for Belarus.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export countrydoesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
In 2016, Russia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:
- China: -US$10.1 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2016)
- France: -$3.6 billion
- Indonesia: -$1.8 billion
- United States: -$1.6 billion
- Vietnam: -$1.1 billion
- Ecuador: -$1 billion
- Austria: -$782.8 million
- Brazil: -$737.9 million
- Paraguay: -$685.4 million
- Slovenia: -$624.6 million
Among Russia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Russian deficits with Indonesia (up 406%), Paraguay (up 93.2%) and Austria (up 80.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Russia’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Russia to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus. Overall, Russia posted a $103.2 billion trade surplus in 2016 down -21.2% from its $131 billion surplus in 2009.
In 2016, Russia incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:
- Netherlands: US$26.2 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2016)
- Turkey: $11.6 billion
- Kazakhstan: $5.8 billion
- Poland: $5.1 billion
- South Korea: $4.9 billion
- Belarus: $4.6 billion
- Latvia: $4.5 billion
- Italy: $4.1 billion
- Finland: $4.1 billion
- Algeria: $4 billion
Among Russia’s trading partners that cause the greatest positive trade balances, Russian surpluses with South Korea (up 498.5%), Algeria (up 176.8%) and Latvia (up 38.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2009 to 2016.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Russia’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Russia to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Russian Trading Partners
Russian Export Companies
Twenty-eight Russian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015. The following companies are selected examples of leading companies headquartered in Russia:
- Gazprom (oil, gas)
- Surgutneftegas (oil, gas)
- Sistema (telecommunications)
- Severstal (iron, steel)
- Mechel (iron, steel)
- Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel (iron, steel)
According to the Russian Exporters Database provided by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, the following are also examples of established companies that ship products from Russia to its import partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis is the product category that the Russian business specializes in.
- OJSC TAIF-NK (refined petroleum oils)
- JSC Mir Upakovki (plastic packaging)
- Omsky Zavod Trubnoy Izolyatsy (tubes, pipes, fittings)
- Souz Co Ltd (fertilizers, chemicals)
- FPK Saturn LLC (copper, zinc, aluminum, tin)
- Soyuz Agro, LLC (wheat, barley, flax)
- GUP Komdragmetall RSJA (gold)
- ALROSA (diamonds, jewelry)
- Finco LLC (drones for aerial photos, video monitoring)
- SpecPromTech (iron, steel, other metals)
See also Russia’s Top 10 Imports, Top Russian Trade Balances and Highest Value Russian Import Products
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 18, 2017
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 18, 2017
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 18, 2017
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 18, 2017
Integrated Foreign Economic Information Portal, Russian Exporters Database. Accessed on November 2, 2015