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Business Duty Officer

Parallel Import. new reality

Parallel Import. new reality

Due to the aggravation of the geopolitical situation and increased sanctions pressure, a number of foreign companies announced the suspension of the supply of their goods to Russia. Legalization of parallel imports allows you to import goods into the country without the consent of the manufacturer or copyright holder. This mechanism is called "parallel", as import goes simultaneously with delivery from official dealers. Mainly it is car spare parts, consumer products, which goes to stores, and critical imports, which foreign partners of the Russian Federation “refused to supply directly”.

Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 506, displays a range of products, primarily imported, under the Articles 1359 and 1487 Civil Code of the Russian Federation, i.e. it allows parallel import. The Ministry of Industry and Trade created specific goods, which can be imported by any importers - regardless of the decision of the right holder. Certain brand items are allowed to be imported. The goods are verified according to the TN VED code and the brand name. By the way, no food on the list, alcohol and tobacco. Officially, the ban is explained by the fear of importing counterfeit products.. But, most likely, The Ministry of Agriculture does not want to increase competition there, where we ourselves are able to produce our own product, because parallel imports put pressure on domestic producers, who develop and build their business to replace departed foreign companies.

Parallel imports are not the same, that “grey” import, although these concepts are often confused with each other. Moreover, parallel imports are not legalization of smuggling.. Interestingly, arguments about, that parallel import is an illegal way of using trademarks in its own right, are cited in the court decision of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Moscow District in one of the cases of “gray” imports. Copyright holder Heineken Czech Republic, Joint Stock Company filed a lawsuit against ElitVoda Ru LLC. The right holder challenged the actions for the import of products "beer" Krusovise ". By a court decision, the importer was found to have violated the rights of the copyright holder and, accordingly, was recognized as a “parallel” importer. No less convincing arguments are given to protect importers, not copyright holders, where parallel import does not violate the legal rights of the latter. Cases are examples of such decisions.: on the claim of the Kayaba Koge Kabasiki Kaisha company against Avtologistika LLC; on the suit of the importer LLC "Alion" against the owner of the trademark "Guinness" of the company "Diageo Ireland"; on claims against several unofficial distributors of digital equipment at once, marked with "Panasonic".

Continuing the policy of legalization of parallel imports, The Ministry of Digital Development proposed not to fine for the sale of equipment without pre-installed domestic software, setting, thus, moratorium on administrative responsibility for the sale of smartphones, tablets, laptops, on which Russian software was not installed. Only sellers plan not to fine. The new measure will not affect manufacturers..

Expansion of competition in the market by connecting parallel importers to authorized dealers can have a positive impact on consumers in terms of lower prices and expanding the range of imported goods. Regarding price cuts: one side, end users receive the main benefits from parallel imports, who are given the opportunity to purchase branded products at lower prices; on the other hand, the positive macroeconomic effects from the legalization of parallel imports are very doubtful.

Lack of clear regulation of parallel imports can provoke unintentional violations, and also gives the opportunity for abuse for some entrepreneurs, which together creates grounds in the future for another reason for the criminal prosecution of businessmen. For iexample, Considering, that there is currently no limit on the amount of money, which can be transferred abroad for purchased goods under parallel import, recommended cost some entrepreneurs may, reaching an agreement with contractors, withdraw part of the funds under the guise of purchases using affiliated structures abroad, including by overpricing purchased goods or supplying in a smaller volume.

Under these conditions, banks, through which such settlements pass and regulatory structures may perceive transactions for payment to foreign counterparties for the purchase of goods in connection with the permission of parallel imports as doubtful (from the point of view of Federal Law No. 115-FZ), given the lack of clear rules and explanations from the regulator (Central Bank of Russia) and suspend or deny them. All this can create problems for both a conscientious business., as well as for the state, therefore it is important to resolve the issue of parallel imports, create clear and logical rules and regulations, leaving no room for legal uncertainty, on the one hand to prevent abuse, on the other hand, do not create legal risks for bona fide business, which can violate due to ignorance.

The range can be significantly expanded due to products, which was not previously supplied to the Russian Federation by decision of the copyright holder. It will become possible to supply equipment and goods through third countries, which were previously limited. But difficulties are possible, since there is no universal solution for all sectors of the economy. For iexample, for some types of electronics or household appliances, the settings of the receiving country are valid. Products of the same brand may differ between European and Asian markets.

Besides, goods exist, most often forged, for example, medicines, and the import and circulation of goods requires additional control. Despite the assurances of the FAS ("Import of products by parallel importers to the territory of Russia does not deprive the consumer of the right of warranty service and technical support"), when, if counterfeit products harm consumers, it will be impossible to hold the manufacturer liable. Guided by the statement of the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, parallel import is just a temporary measure, entered to the end 2022 y. Authorities will continue to monitor its impact on the market, in which case to accept operational changes, which include the possibility of changing the list of goods, available for parallel import.

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