The sale of Russian precious metals will become unlimited

2021-07-19

The Ministry of Industry and Trade wants to simplify the rules for the export of rare and precious platinum-group metals from Russia. The prepared project introduces the concept of a “general license”, on the basis of which private companies will be able to export an unlimited amount of raw materials from our country. Earlier, the government has already lifted restrictions on the export of gold, thanks to which the volume of gold export has jumped threefold. And some platinum metals (for example, rhodium) are many times more valuable than gold … This is how the Russian authorities encourage the sale of our country’s irreplaceable resources.

rhodium

At the moment, for the export of platinum-group metals, capitalists have to obtain one-time licenses that lead to specific contracts. The new draft government decree involves the introduction of the so-called “general licenses”, which allow the export of an unlimited amount of raw materials. A general licensing system was already introduced last year with a view to selling more gold. The Central Bank of Russia stopped buying gold for its reserves; the government began issuing general licenses, which actually made it possible to start exporting all the gold that is mined in the country. As a result, gold exports tripled and reached $18.5 billion.

The explanatory note to the document is quite remarkable. According to the press, the project was developed “in order to reduce the time of obtaining permits”, since the current procedure “often does not satisfy foreign buyers”. The Ministry of Industry and Trade illustrates this idea with a certain example in which an anonymous company was unable to “quickly sell iridium, ruthenium at the time of demand and, especially, rhodium at the peak of the world price, which led to lost profits”. As a result, according to officials, the budget received less than 1.7 billion rubles of income tax. Ministry of Industry and Trade doesn’t speak about the lost personal profits of the businessmen.

Exports of platinum metals from Russia are constantly growing: last year they were sold for $6.9 billion, and this year sales are expected to rise to $7.1 billion. This will undoubtedly be helped by the decree of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, signed at the end of June 2021. According to this decree, exporters of “non-raw materials, non-energy goods” (including precious metals) were exempted from the obligation to “repatriate” foreign currency earnings. In other words, businessmen selling Russian gold, metals, grain and other goods can henceforth hide their foreign exchange earnings in foreign banks. Thus, thanks to the presidential decree, it is now possible to sell Russian raw materials and not invest the proceeds in the Russian economy.

The Boris Yeltsin affair lives on under his successor: the sale of Russia continues at an accelerated pace.