Rich in natural resources, Russia has the largest natural gas reserves in the world, the second largest coal reserves and the eighth largest oil reserves. All these resources constitute a major portion of Russia’s exports. In fact, 80% of Russia’s exports constitute oil, natural gas, metals, timber, and defense equipment. Russia uses these reserves to secure both its economic and political interests.
The EU is by far Russia’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 46.8% of its overall trade in 2010, and by far the most important investor for Russia. It is estimated that up to 75% of foreign direct investment in Russia came from EU member states.
Russia’s WTO Accession
Russia is the only major international economy that is not yet a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a matter of fundamental importance for Russia’s economic modernization for sustainable growth. Should Russia become a member, it will greatly benefit from the multilateral trading system of the WTO.
From a broader systemic view, Russia would have to implement a number of legislative changes to bring its judiciary and regulatory system in line with WTO guidelines. In this regard, a number of new developments that concern the trade regime have taken place with the introduction of the customs union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus as of 1st January 2010.
Russia's Trade Indicators at a Glance (2010)
Current Account Balance: US$181.7 billion or 4.9% of GDP
Trade to GDP Ratio: 43.3%
Total value of exports: US$429.4 billion
Primary exports: oil, natural gas, metals, timber
Primary exports partners: EU (44.8%), United States (6.0%), China (5.8%), Turkey (4.9%), Ukraine (3.7%)
Total value of imports: US$247.7 billion
Primary imports: machinery, transport equipment, plastics, medicines, iron and steel, consumer goods, meat
Primary imports partners: EU (50.2%), China (14.1%), Ukraine (5.3%), Japan (3.8%), Belarus (3.4%)