Sales Representative in Russia

Overview by

Commercial Intermediaries

Trading Companies
  • Type of Organization
It is generally a question of import/export companies, specialized in one type of product.
These companies are useful for penetrating the retail market at a lower cost. In fact, without setting up on the spot it is difficult to access the market. This is mainly due to the relative underdevelopment of buying groups.
  • Main Actors
The market is very segmented.
We can name : Novoexport (cross category), Prommashimport (machine-tools), Prodintorg, Vneshintorg (foodstuffs), Rusimport (wine), Dina International (medicines), Elektromedoburovanie (medical equipment).
  • Type of Organization
The sector is made up of relatively small companies specialized in one type of product and larger companies offering especially logistic and storage services. Generally, wholesalers carry out import business.
  • Main Actors
Metro, Stock-Planet (clothes), TC-Belcom (chemicals), Exima (food), Morozilnik (household appliances), Mebel-Russi (furniture)
The import/export companies mentioned above also act as wholesalers.
Useful Resources
Global E-commerce network
Catalog of wholesalers
Russian importers
U.S Commercial Service Guide to commerce

Using a Commercial Agent

The Advantages
Allows you to start up business locally at reduced cost and to extend your business later.
Allows you to widen your business to another geographical area if your company is already established in the country.
Where to Be Vigilant
Because of the size of the country, it is not usual to depend on only one agent, but rather on a distribution network.
Counterfeit invoices and other irregularities are sometimes reported. Generally speaking, finding a trustworthy partner is not easy and you need to keep up a certain level of supervision.
The notion of a commercial agent is not often found in Russian business culture.
Elements of Motivation
Exclusive rights, a fixed term contract, sales objectives.
You must ensure active follow-up. Your physical presence and the development of personal relations are often useful.
The Average Amount of Commission
Generally from 5 to 10%.
More if the market is limited (equipment), less if the volumes are large (raw materials).
Breach of Contract
The company has the right to terminate a contract at any moment. It will then have to compensate the agent for any losses.
If no term has been specified in the contract, the agent may terminate it by giving a month's notice.
Finding a Commercial Agent
E-ligne Agency
Find Sales and Distribution Service Providers in Russia on

Setting Up a Commercial Unit

The Advantages
Allows you to have direct contact with consumers and the control of the distribution chain.
Can be useful if a company wants to find growth opportunities or establish its presence in the medium or long term.
Where to Be Vigilant
Interpretation of the laws varies according to the region. It is advisable to call in a legal consultant when carrying out registration formalities.
Different Possible Forms of Settlement
  • A Representative Office
A representative office must be approved and registered with the Ministry of Justice. It allows you to employ up to 5 foreigners and to send out business invitations.
  • A Branch Office
A branch office is not considered to be totally independent. It cannot conduct commercial business, but it can negotiate, prospect, supervise the distribution network and give the parent company commercial support.
It is advisable to register with the Ministry in charge.
  • A Company
A company must register with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and with the local Tax Office. That takes considerably more time.
It can be a joint-venture or a subsidiary belonging 100% to a foreign company.


Evolution of the Sector
Over the last 10 years, franchises have developed in the automobile sector, company services (post, cleaning, logistics, consulting), education, health, leisure and tourism.
There is large number of franchises in the retail trade and especially in fast food and cafés.
It is advisable to be particularly vigilant when drawing up contracts which must be registered. According to Russian law, the franchisor cannot impose standards or prices on his franchisee.
Some Big Franchises
Mc Donald's, fast food
Baskin-Robbins , ice creams
Sbarro , pizzeria
Bagatelle , gifts
Hirsh , real estate
For Further Information
Russian association for the growth of franchising

Finding Assistance

Export Trading Companies
Prodmashimport , machine-tools
Prodintorg , food
Rusimport , wine and spirits
Dina International , pharmacy
Catalog of international trade companies
Portal for Russian foreign trade
Find more on about Selling to Russia.

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