Italian wines have managed to maintain a strong presence in the Russian market despite trade restrictions, with the help of Russian distributors who have extensive knowledge of Italian wines, according to the president of the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, Ferdinando Pelazzo. Since the introduction of Western sanctions, Italy’s total exports to Russia have decreased by nearly four times, as 51% of goods were subjected to those restrictions. However, wines priced under €300 per bottle were exempt from the sanctions and have continued to perform well.
Pelazzo praised the large distributors in Russia who have a deep understanding of Italy, live in the country, and even speak Italian better than some Italians themselves. These distributors have been instrumental in ensuring that Italian wines continue to be sold in Russia, as they have the expertise and network to keep everything under control.
In fact, wine exports from Italy to Russia saw a significant increase of 16% last year compared to the previous year, reaching a record value of €172 million, according to the Italian association of agricultural producers, Coldiretti.
One of the key strengths of Russian distributors is their ability to select the best wines, including those from small producers. Pelazzo highlighted that these distributors not only focus on wines from well-known producers but also support and buy from smaller Italian wine businesses. This has been crucial for many medium and small Italian producers who relied on Russian distributors for their logistics and exporting needs. These producers are often family-run and may lack the resources and structure to handle all the intricacies of exporting. The trade restrictions have put these businesses at risk, making the role of the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce even more vital in maintaining trade turnover between Italy and Russia for unsanctioned goods.
In addition to wines, Pelazzo pointed out that footwear and fashion items are among the goods unaffected by the trade restrictions. This provides further opportunities for Italian businesses to continue exporting to Russia despite the challenges posed by the sanctions.
The Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce plays a crucial role in supporting Italian businesses in navigating the complexities of international trade and ensuring the continuity of trade between Italy and Russia. Their efforts focus on facilitating trade in unsanctioned goods and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in adapting to the changing trade landscape.
Overall, the strong distribution network and expertise of Russian distributors have been instrumental in maintaining the presence of Italian wines in the Russian market. Despite the trade restrictions imposed by Western sanctions, Italian wines have been able to thrive, thanks to the knowledge and support of these distributors. This not only benefits Italian wine producers but also reinforces the strong trade ties between Italy and Russia in the face of external challenges.
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