A brief interview with Jeroen Ketting about the business opportunities in Russia and the dos & don’ts for the newcomers to the Russian market. The article was in the April issue of Globe magazine by evofenedex.
This interview is in Dutch. For the English translation, please scroll down.
To download the full version of the issue, please visit evofenedex website: https://www.evofenedex.nl/kennis/actualiteiten/vakmagazine-globe-van-april-nu-online-beschikbaar
Source: Globe magazine by evofenedex
Text: Gerben Sas
Who works where?
For many years Russia has been in the top five destinations for Dutch exporters outside the European Union. Jeroen Ketting settled in Moscow in 1994 as a 23-year-old student and founded Lighthouse Management there. This company is there to support Western companies in their business in Russia. Jeroen Ketting’s passion is to make the largest country in the world accessible for the Dutch business community.
Reporter: What can you do for the Dutch exporters?
Jeroen: We at Lighthouse Management are the boots and brains on the ground for exporters, and we provide them with operational and commercial support. In addition, we import bulk with Lighthouse Technologies, a company trading bulk handling equipment in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. The experience we have acquired so far benefits the exporters we deal with. The best moments for me are when I talk to customers about their opportunities and strategy in Russia. I could never imagine I would stay in this country for more than a quarter of a century. But the longer I stay here, the more experience and added value I obtain for the exporters.
Reporter: What kinds of opportunities does Russia offer?
Jeroen: In total, between 2015 and 2019 the volume of Dutch import to Russia grew on average by 8.8% a year. In 2019, it grew by 20% and amounted to 6.5 billion euros. And there’s no surprise here since eight of the top ten Russian import categories match eight of the top ten Dutch export categories. This mainly concerns (electric) machines, computers, pharmaceuticals, optical and medical equipment, vehicles, iron and steel, plastics and chemicals. A lot of business is being done with regard to agriculture, food industry, packaging and manufacturing industries, shipbuilding, IT, e-commerce and retail. There are plenty of opportunities! However, due to the language barrier, differences in business cultures, price sensitivity, competition, localization, the ICC Incoterms® 2020 rule Delivered Duty Paid, unstable Russian ruble, customs, certification requirements and sanctions, doing business in this country not easy.
Reporter: What do you advise exporters to do to have success in Russia?
Jeroen: We always advise our customers not to spend time and money on market research. Get in touch with potential Russian customers as soon as possible. This is the key to the most reliable information and this is your starting point for building a network of skilled and reliable market participants. Stay alert of the certification costs and requirements and logistics before you make a quotation. And also realize that sooner or later you will need a representation in Russia. Be open and interested in your customers, and try to put yourself in their shoes. To keep control of your affairs, communicate with your customers a few times a month and undertake personal visits to Russia several times a year.