Shuvalov Supports Lifting Ban on Parallel Imports

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has expressed support for the lifting of a ban on parallel importing, Vedomosti reported Monday, citing participants of a government meeting.

Lobbyists of the ban, which prohibits the importing of goods without permission from the rights holder, use the guise of protecting intellectual property rights to limit competition, a participant of the meeting said, explaining Shuvalov's logic.

"A pool is artificially created of authorized dealers and suppliers who carry out the pricing policies dictated by a foreign producer," the unidentified source said.

So far, only the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has spoken out in favor of the ban's lifting, saying it would reduce prices inside the country.

Experts are concerned that parallel imports would boost the amount of pirated goods, damage the country's investment climate, and lead to job cuts and reduced production.

The lifting of the ban would have to be approved by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and, possibly, President Vladimir Putin, an unidentified official told Vedomosti.

Government officials propose to only partially lift the ban so as not to violate agreements with carmakers that have their production units based in Russia.

The Industry and Trade Ministry believes the move would reduce investments in production inside the country, and the Economic Development Ministry has spoken out against the ban, saying its lifting could reduce prices.