This is not at all a matter of the intention to strengthen the ruble exchange rate
The government has decided to exempt small quantities of goods worth up to €200 from export duties tied to the ruble exchange rate. According to experts, this measure is aimed at supporting small and medium-sized businesses, and not at all the national currency, as some media considered its main purpose. It is absolutely clear that tariffs make it difficult for many exporters, especially those who are just starting to develop new markets. Adjustment of regulation, even if it has an effect on the ruble, will be indirect and weak.
According to the decision of the subcommittee on customs, tariff and non-tariff regulation, the measure will apply to goods that travel from one sender to one recipient and under one transport document – in this case, the cost of the shipment should not exceed €200. We are talking, in particular, about commercial cargo, spare parts, samples for representing further sales and for certification of Russian products abroad, advertising materials, documents, correspondence.
According to the government, the measure will eliminate situations where export duties were levied on postal shipments of trial products, including for advertising purposes. Those who suffered were mainly novice exporters, who, entering new markets and assessing the profitability of their products, sent test batches to counterparties abroad.
Let us remind you that flexible exchange rate export duties were established in September and started working on October 1. They apply to a very wide range of goods (from wool to jewelry), range from 4% to 7% depending on the national currency exchange rate and are applied at a rate of 80 rubles per dollar. If the rate remains at 90-95, as it is now, the duty will be 5.5%, and if the rate is more than 95 – 7%. According to the acting head of the Federal Customs Service, Ruslan Davydov, in the first month of action, the measure brought 30 billion rubles to the budget. As the government noted, it is intended to “maintain a rational ratio between the export of goods and domestic consumption, and protect the domestic market from unjustified price increases.” Over the entire period of operation of this mechanism (until the end of 2024), the authorities expect to receive about 755 billion rubles.
“A series of hearings were held in the government and the State Duma with the same working agenda – how to reboot the state program for promoting small and medium-sized businesses,” says Nikita Maslennikov, a leading expert at the Center for Political Technologies. – Actually, the current decision regarding duties is connected with this. Our small business has a dubious internal structure: almost 60% is trade and transportation, 10% is real estate, 8% is manufacturing, 7% is IT. The share of importers and exporters is extremely low: only about 1% of small enterprises are involved in foreign economic activity in one way or another.”
As for the specific product range, foreign brands have always been in the foreground. This market needs to be balanced somehow, and it is no coincidence that a proposal arose to allocate separate places in stores for products from domestic manufacturers. But “Russian regiments” are not the main thing. It is necessary to encourage (including through exemption from duties) small and medium-sized enterprises to speed up production, create competitive products and enter foreign markets with them. So the measure looks quite logical and timely, Maslennikov argues. As for the ruble exchange rate, it is influenced by an obvious fundamental factor – the general improvement of the trade and payments balance. Thanks to the consistent growth in sales of foreign currency earnings by exporters, positive changes are taking place in the structure of the financial account: in August the volumes amounted to about $7 billion, in September – $9.2 billion, in October – over $12 billion. Plus, the share of the yuan in the total is increasing, and the share of the ruble , on the contrary, falls. This also improves the balance of supply and demand for currency. As well as the fact that in October Russians transferred less of their funds to accounts in foreign banks than in September.
“In principle, the measure is quite logical,” says Artem Deev, head of the analytical department at Amarkets. – Especially taking into account the previously stated goal by the authorities – duties were introduced “to maintain a rational ratio between the export of goods and domestic consumption.” And since there is already a visible effect – in the form of 30 billion rubles collected in the first month of action – the mechanism can be adjusted. This will not only support small and medium-sized businesses, but will also allow the Russian currency to strengthen within the corridor of approximately 2-3 rubles to the dollar and euro.”