Window of opportunity for Russian exports

26 October 2022

On 20th October 2022, within the forum “Made in Russia”, Kommersant Publishing House held a session “Sovereignty for export”. The experts discussed the prospects for exporting Russian products and services included in the critical infrastructure complex (CII).

Valentin Makarov, President of RUSSOFT, was one of the speakers of the session and commented on the situation with the CII, noting the increased interest on the part of friendly countries to share the recipe for success in gaining technological sovereignty:

“The result of the massive application of IT sanctions against Russia has shown the whole world that the Russian IT market is not only unbroken, but is also developing successfully. All life support systems are functioning with a multiple increase in the number of cyber attacks.  Personnel, qualifications and internal mobilization of resources — all this remained, the departure of a critical mass of specialists did not happen. The combination of a friendly business model and a high technological level has opened a window of opportunity for Russian exports. And in this sense, Russia is ready to export technological sovereignty to other countries.”

He also stressed that for leadership in exports, it is important, in addition to existing niches in cybersecurity, to develop the infrastructure of the New technological paradigm, including the introduction of digital algorithms and devices that exclude the human factor, to develop cyber-physical systems. For the powerful development of this direction, it is important to have a new generation that will have the necessary competencies, the resources for the preparation of which should be provided by the state in cooperation with successful players in export markets.

Export is a derivative from macroeconomic market conditions, and the ruble exchange rate, according to experts, had an impact on the export potential. “Currency volatility certainly makes life difficult for businesses. The colossal strengthening of the ruble creates difficulties for exporters while devaluing the currencies of developing countries, with which Russian exports mainly compete,” stated Sofya Donets, Chief Economist for Russia and the CIS+ Renaissance Capital. At the same time, the IT sector is one of the few that can benefit from the strengthening of the national currency, as wages within the country become competitive for specialists, which will reduce the “brain drain”. The expert suggested that the problem of the expensive ruble will be leveled within the next six months or a year, but cryptocurrencies will not be able to become a reliable means of settlement, since it is even more difficult to hedge the risks of their fluctuations. “It is not so easy to find yourself in a recessionary global economy, but the opportunities for non-resource exports are not the worst. Exports to Latin America and Southeast Asia are growing frontally. Exports to Brazil and Turkey doubled, and exports to India tripled. Any foreign market is better than its absence,” Sofia Donets summed up.

An example of a successful strategy for exporting complex information platforms is the activity of Rosatom State Corporation. According to Olga Tolstunova, Vice President for Digitalization and Information Technologies at Atomstroyexport, a number of platform solutions are already being actively implemented by partners in the countries of the corporation’s presence. Some solutions from the field of life cycle management (PLM) and project modeling (BIM) are already ready for use in engineering and construction organizations. Others require adaptation to the norms of the legislation of the places of presence. “On the basis of our MULTI–D platform, you can modularly assemble the desired product, which foreign partners then actively work with. We offer a comprehensive implementation of our IT landscape projects with all stages of maintenance and training of local specialists to work in systems,” Olga Tolstunova emphasized.

The Russian Export Center is a great help in the development of export activities of Russian IT companies. “Since this year, the mandate of the REC Group has been expanded to support imports in critical industries. Existing solutions in Russia are supported for export with an emphasis on promotion in friendly countries,” said Alexey Mudrakov, Project Manager for client work at the Russian Export Center. The set of measures to support the REC includes non-financial, insurance and banking products both in support of the exporter and the buyer of Russian solutions. At the same time, it is possible to use financial instruments with state support on favorable terms. REC representative offices have been opened in the key markets of the CIS and Southeast Asia, providing consulting and information support to Russian exporters. Representative offices in Iran and Tajikistan have been strengthened and reopened this year. The REC actively participates and supports the participation of Russian exporters in international exhibition events, where a significant part of the costs is co-financed.

Tax regulation remains one of the problem areas in terms of export activities. Russian marketplaces face double taxation when exporting goods to the EAEU countries. To change the situation, intergovernmental decisions on the collection of indirect taxes are required, which are being worked out with Eurasian partner countries, explained Marina Amelina, Vice President of Baring Vostok in Russia and the CIS.

Valentin Makarov agreed with Marina Amelina’s argument on the liberalization of tax regimes and proposed to give the export of IT services the status of one of the priorities of foreign trade policy, on a par with the export of goods. In addition, in his opinion, it is important to take into account the mentality and culture of new markets and work on the trust of local partners from friendly countries. “If they understand that you have come seriously and for a long time, together with the training of local personnel, your representative offices and investments in the local economy, then contracts will be signed faster,” concluded Valentin Makarov.