On May 6, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade has set the list of products and product categories for which parallel imports into Russia are allowed (“List“).
The List was adopted in implementation of Russian Government Resolution No. 506 of March 29, 2022, which allows the importation into Russia of genuine products put on the market by or with the consent of trademark owners elsewhere in the world and which tasked the Ministry of Industry and Trade with drawing up the list of such products.
The Russian Government has declared that temporarily allowing parallel imports for certain categories of goods is intended to prevent a shortage of those products that become unavailable on the Russian market due to sanctions, supply disruptions or the mass departure from the Russian market of multi-national companies.
The List includes a number of categories of goods and brands for which parallel imports are authorized, for example, petroleum products, chemical compounds, electric motors, batteries, phones and their components, devices for recording and storing data, monitors, TVs and projectors, video game consoles, etc.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is expected to remove from the List the goods for which local production or import into Russia is continued or resumed by the rights holders, and to add to the List the goods that become unavailable in Russia.
The main problems in the application of the order are as follows:
- absence of a procedure for the Federal Customs Service to perform customs controls, specifically when distinguishing goods or categories of goods on the List from other goods, and also when distinguishing original goods from counterfeits without the rights holders checking such goods; and
- the complexity of the List, which means that it is unclear how it should procedurally be applied, to which particular goods it applies and how precisely it correlates with the registered trademarks and their lists of goods and services, not to mention multiple errors in the names of the brands that are present on the List.