The Indian Embassy in Moscow has shared with Indian exporters a priority sourcing list of consumer goods that Russia is keen on importing, in yet another attempt to increase exports from India in the face of a whopping increase in Russian oil imports following imposition of Western sanctions last year against Moscow.

“Various export bodies in India have received communication from the Indian Embassy in Moscow sharing information on priority sourcing list of Grand Trade JSC, one of the leading suppliers in food and non-food consumer goods imported from across the world to Russian retailers. This would give exporters an idea of the items for which there is demand in the country,” a source tracking the matter told BusinessLine.

In 2022-23, India’s imports from Russia increased 368 per cent (year-on-year) to $46.2 billion, primarily due to an increase in oil purchase. Its exports in the same year were at $3.14 billion, down 3.3 per cent. Trade deficit was at $43 billion in 2022-23.

Tepid exports

Despite Russia’s interest in importing more from India to partly use the rupee balance that has been piling up in the special vostro accounts that Russian banks have opened in India to circumvent West’s sanctions, the figures remain low. “One of the reasons for India’s exports to Russia not increasing is the fact that Indian exporters are hesitant about exporting items such as electronics and machinery, for which there is a demand, fearing third country sanctions as they may also be dealing with advanced economies that have imposed sanctions on Russia,” an industry official said.

“The priority list of items shared by the Indian Embassy mostly includes goods that are unlikely to attract sanctions as food and pharmaceutical items are outside its ambit,” the source pointed out. The food items in the list include onion, grapes, bananas, spices, dried fruits and some other vegetables.

Non-food list

The non-food items on the list include home textiles items such as kitchen towels, bath towels, bedding sets, pillowcases, pillows, sheets, bedspreads and blankets. It also has cosmetics and body care products including  shampoos, shower gels, cream, tonics, cleansers.

“For items related to natural skin care, hair, bath and body cosmetics, the Russian company is interested in the low and medium price segments  and would give priority to well-known brands,” the source said.

Russian importers will have to be less jittery about imports of food and essentials from India as in the past they have been raising quality issues, the industry official said.