India Russia Exports: India restarts tea, rice, other exports to Russia

India’s exports to Russia have resumed with containers carrying goods including tea, rice, fruits, coffee, marine products and confectionery shipping out last week, said people with knowledge of the matter. Banks led by Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, are facilitating settlement of bilateral trade moving largely through ports in Georgia.

“The transactions are happening through Sberbank,” said Ajay Sahai, director general and CEO, Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

Immediate Demand for Food

Exports had almost stalled amid the uncertainty that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The trade is being settled through the rupee-rouble route to the extent possible, while some banks are providing remittances in euros, said a person aware of the details. Officials of both countries have held talks relating to trade and payments.

“We have just shipped 60 containers of non-basmati rice to Russia, each weighing 22,000 kg,” said Ashwin Shah, director at Shah Nanji Nagji Exports, a leading exporter of rice to Russia. “Payment for our rice is being handled by Russia-based Alfa Bank. Bank of Maharashtra is our Indian bank.”

Sberbank and Alfa Bank did not respond to queries.

The immediate demand is for food as Russian stores are emptying out because of sanctions imposed on the country and the ban on supplies by the European Union. “Tea exports to Russia have begun and we have just shipped five containers to Russia,” said Mohit Agarwal, director of Asian Tea, a leading exporter.

Russia is a major market for Indian tea, importing 43-45 million kg annually. More items will shortly be added for exports to Russia, industry sources said.

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