Most of the goods can be freely imported into Russia, although there is a licensing system for some products such as pesticides, weapons, self-defence items, explosives, jewels and precious substances and electric material which represent about 3% of the total imported goods. These licenses are issued by the Ministry of External Economic Relations and controlled by the State Customs Committee.
The importers have to fill in a "customs freight declaration statement" of which 54 paragraphs are written in Russian. Certificates of origin and conformity certificates have to be presented to the customs.
Concerning the import of ethyl alcohol and vodka, all taxes must be paid beforehand so as to avoid fraud during transportation. Moreover, a number of measures are taken by the Russian Authorities to try to limit fraud in the field of goods transport.
The inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country is growing fast: it rose from 3.4 billion dollars in 2002 to 11.7 billion dollars in 2004. For the past few months, it seems that Russian authorities want to attract more foreign investments. Though the business environment is improving in Russia it still continues to be constraining and unstable, especially at the judicial and fiscal levels. In order to set up in the Russian market, it is imperative to have a local partner.
The pharmaceutical and telecommunications sectors offer great opportunities to foreign investors. The food-processing sector also offers high growth potential especially in those provinces where there are no distribution networks.
Franchising as a method of establishment is fast developing. Today, it is one of the most efficient forms of investment for rapidly opening a large number of retail outlets.
The certification of products can be obtained in Russia or by a foreign organisation recognised by Russian authorities. The institutions of standardisation and certification in Russia are the State Committee of Standardisation (Gosstandart) and the State Committee of Health control and Epidemiology (Goskomsanepidnadzor).
The imported products have to comply with some sanitary and safety requirements, established by the Law of Protection of the rights of the Consumer (Law n 2 300 - 1 of the 7 / 2 / 92).