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25 Dec, 2023 07:24

Russia may switch to rubles in trade with Italy

A payment mechanism is expected to be ready by February 2024, a lobby representative has said
Russia may switch to rubles in trade with Italy

The Italian business lobby in Russia is finalizing a mechanism that would allow local buyers to pay for Italian goods in rubles, the president of the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce has said. In an interview with RIA Novosti, Ferdinando Pelazzo said the mechanism is expected to be ready by February 14, 2024.

We are convinced that on February 14 we will offer the entire mechanism to our board of directors, and from the next day it will be launched. All we need is to report and get the green light,” Pelazzo stated.

He clarified that the payment mechanism will cover trade in unsanctioned goods which are permitted for import into Russia. According to Pelazzo, there are still “some financial issues” which the lobby needs to sort out, but none challenging enough for the mechanism not to be ready by the date indicated. Pelazzo previously explained that the system which the lobby is working on will allow it to pay for Italian goods in rubles, and then transfer the money to Italy from its account in a third country. The lobby has already chosen an Armenian bank for the purpose, though the name of the bank has not been disclosed.

We have already reached an agreement with an Armenian bank... We will not only control payments, but also logistics. Currently, the costs of sending goods through Armenia and through Europe are more or less the same. The country is not very far from Italy, which will allow us to monitor the entire process more transparently,” Pelazzo stated. He also noted that the lobby has already secured permission for the new payment mechanism from the Central Bank of Italy.

Pelazzo first unveiled plans to introduce a ruble-based payment mechanism for Italo-Russian trade in July. He noted at the time that trade in unsanctioned goods such as wine and clothing has been made difficult by financial restrictions on Russia, introduced by the EU in connection with the Ukraine conflict, including the disconnection of its banks from the SWIFT international financial messaging system.

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