India has resumed exports of goods including tea, rice, fruits, coffee, marine products, and confectionery to Russia, said people with knowledge of the matter.
Banks led by Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, are facilitating the settlement of bilateral trade moving largely through ports in Georgia.
“The transactions are happening through Sberbank,” said Ajay Sahai, director general, and CEO, of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations.
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. Payment for our rice is being handled by Russia-based Alfa Bank. Bank of Maharashtra is our Indian bank.”Ashwin Shah, director at Shah Nanji Nagji Exports, a leading exporter of rice to Russia.
There is an immediate demand for food from Russia, as the Russian stores are emptying 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.
India exports 43-45 million kg of tea annually, making Russia a major market for Indian tea. Sources believe that more items will shortly be added for exports to Russia.