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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Tightens Controls on Vital Exports

Russia has started tightening control over exports of strategically important raw materials such as oil, gas and metals, Foreign Trade Ministry sources said Friday.

The sources said the ministry last week reduced the number of authorized crude oil exporters to 13 from 16 in a bid to make export operations more effective and ensure repatriation of foreign exchange earnings.

"In my opinion, the fewer exporters the better. Then there will be fewer criminals," one source said.

A ministry spokeswoman also confirmed a report by the Interfax news agency that a procedure for registering export contracts for strategic commodities had also been introduced to replace quotas and licenses.

The system, brought into effect under a Sept. 8 order by Foreign Economic Relations Minister Oleg Davydov, would cover exports of non-ferrous metals, rough diamonds, natural gas, electricity and timber, it said.

Registration certificates will keep track of export volumes and prices, a ministry source said. The ministry is also setting up a data bank for all strategic commodity export operations.

The contract registration rules do not yet apply to oil and oil product exporters, but will be extended to them when export quotas and licences are abolished at the start of next year.

One source said companies could have their export privileges revoked if they failed to adhere to tough ministry rules.

He said the government had been seeking to tighten controls over hard currency revenues since a 1992 presidential decree on export of strategically important goods.

A subsequent government resolution called for registration of exporters. "It was amended later and that is what we are governed by now," one source said.

He could not say which companies had been struck off thelist of so-called "special exporters" last week.

In August, the following companies were registered: Nafta-Moskva, Mashinoimport, Gosinkor Trading House, JV Balkar Trading, Nizhnevolskneft, Suvar, MES, Permneft, Alfa-Eko, JV Nord, LukOil, JV Chernogorsk, Gazexport, Tyumenimpex and Rosneftorg.

Another four companies had limited export rights: Surgutneftegaz (to Kazakhstan), Bashneft (to the CIS), Gamma Trading (tender winner) and Rosneft (Kazakhstan).