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Currency restrictions as a barrier to the development of e-commerce in Russia

January 16, 2018
Currency restrictions as a barrier to the development of e-commerce in Russia

    On January 16, the chairman of the board of directors of Global Rus Trade, Anna Nesterova, spoke at an expert discussion of the Gaidar forum on capital flow liberalization and the problems of current currency restrictions. The discussion was moderated by Antonina Levashenko, Head of the Russia-OECD Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    The discussion was also attended by the Deputy Director of the Directorate for Finance and Entrepreneurship of the OECD, Pierre Poret, Head of the Financial Research Laboratory at the E.T. Gaidar Alexey Vedev, Deputy Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation Alexei Moiseyev, Deputy Director of the Department for Europe, North America and International Organizations of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Elena Stoyanova and others.

    Anna Nesterova in her speech spoke about the opportunities and benefits of e-commerce, voiced the growth of the global B2B and B2C trade, which over the past three years, several times higher than the growth rate of world trade in goods and services. The key advantage of electronic trading platforms (ETPs) is the ability to enter new markets at lower transaction costs.

    However, strict rules of currency regulation and currency control restrain the rapid growth of exports through electronic commerce channels. First, it is impossible to use corporate electronic means of payment (CESP) in the calculations between the business. Secondly, from March 1, 2018, instead of requiring the exporter to issue a Transaction Passport, the requirement that the Authorized Bank set a contract for accounting with the assignment of a unique number comes into effect, which also requires the relevant information on the contract.

    From international experience, it follows that in some countries ETPs work closely with authorities to exchange information (for example, in Estonia). The EU aims to collect and process "large data" that aggregate electronic trading platforms.

    Anna Nesterova proposed to authorize the ETP to accumulate all the necessary information on the transaction for transfer to the Authorized Bank and further registration of the contract, as well as to allow cross-border transfers of electronic funds between CESP for Russian companies. This will contribute to the development of exports and e-commerce.

    Alexei Moiseyev supported the need to move towards removing currency restrictions for exporters and generally supported the proposals voiced.