In addition, that dollar figure represents roughly 1.8% of overall global exports estimated at $18.709 trillion for one year earlier in 2019.
Officially named the Russian Federation, Russia is the world’s largest country in terms of geographic area. It shares land or maritime borders with 16 other European or Asian countries.
Applying a continental lens, 49.3% of Russia’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 42.2% were sold to importers in Asia.
Russia shipped another 3.7% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages also went to Africa (3.5%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1%) then Oceania led by New Zealand and Australia (0.1%).
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 2020. Also shown is each import country’s percentage consumption of total Russian exports.
- China: US$48.9 billion (14.6% of Russia’s total exports)
- Netherlands: $24.8 billion (7.4%)
- United Kingdom: $23.2 billion (6.9%)
- Germany: $18.5 billion (5.5%)
- Belarus: $16 billion (4.8%)
- Turkey: $15.5 billion (4.6%)
- Kazakhstan: $14 billion (4.2%)
- South Korea: $12.4 billion (3.7%)
- United States: $11 billion (3.3%)
- Italy: $10 billion (3%)
- Poland: $9.5 billion (2.8%)
- Japan: $9.1 billion (2.7%)
- Finland: $7.1 billion (2.1%)
- Ukraine: $5.9 billion (1.8%)
- India: $5.8 billion (1.7%)
Over two-thirds (69.1%) of Russian exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
The United Kingdom was the sole top import customer to increase their purchases from Russia from 2019 to 2020 via a 74.8% uptick.
Leading the decliners were the Netherlands (down -44.7%), Germany (down -33.9%), Italy (down -30.2%), Finland (down -29.5%) and Turkey (down -26.4%).
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 country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Russia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: -US$6 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020)
- Germany: -$4.9 billion
- France: -$3.5 billion
- Vietnam: -$2.4 billion
- United States: -$2.3 billion
- Spain: -$1.4 billion
- Ireland: -$1.3 billion
- Czech Republic: -$1.2 billion
- Indonesia: -$1.2 billion
- Thailand: -$1.1 billion
Among Russia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Russian deficits with United States (up 833.6%), Spain (up 83.9%) and France (up 67.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
In addition, Russian trade balances with China, Germany and the Czech Republic went from billon dollar surpluses in 2019 to the significant deficits shown above.
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.
Overall Russia generated a $179 billion trade surplus during 2020, a -15.2% decline from the $211.2 billion surplus one year earlier.
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.
Russia incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Netherlands: US$21 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2020)
- United Kingdom: $19.8 billion
- Turkey: $10.4 billion
- Kazakhstan: $9 billion
- South Korea: $5.3 billion
- Poland: $4.7 billion
- Finland: $4.2 billion
- Belgium: $3.6 billion
- Egypt: $3.5 billion
- Uzbekistan: $3.4 billion
Among Russia’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Russian surpluses with United Kingdom (up 114.5%), Uzbekistan (up 25.9%) and Kazakhstan (up 6.1%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
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
Almost 30 Russian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. The following companies are selected examples of leading companies headquartered in Russia:
- Gazprom (oil, gas)
- Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel (iron, steel)
- Mechel (iron, steel)
- Severstal (iron, steel)
- Sistema (telecommunications)
- Surgutneftegas (oil, gas)
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 trading partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis is the product category that the Russian business specializes in.
- ALROSA (diamonds, jewelry)
- Finco LLC (drones for aerial photos, video monitoring)
- FPK Saturn LLC (copper, zinc, aluminum, tin)
- GUP Komdragmetall RSJA (gold)
- JSC Mir Upakovki (plastic packaging)
- OJSC TAIF-NK (refined petroleum oils)
- Omsky Zavod Trubnoy Izolyatsy (tubes, pipes, fittings)
- Souz Co Ltd (fertilizers, chemicals)
- Soyuz Agro, LLC (wheat, barley, flax)
- SpecPromTech (iron, steel, other metals)
See also Russia’s Top 10 Imports, Russia’s Top 10 Exports, Top Russian Trade Balances and Russia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on February 28, 2021
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 28, 2021
Integrated Foreign Economic Information Portal, Russian Exporters Database. Accessed on February 28, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 28, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 28, 2021