A response to the bill of the Ministry of Finance on conducting an experiment on the sale of alcohol online was sent to the Russian government on February 16 (available in RG), signed by Varos Simonyan, member (minister) of the Board of Internal Markets of the EEC, Computerization and Information and Communication Technologies. It establishes that only Russian wine producers will participate in the experiment on the remote sale of alcohol, which is scheduled to start in Russia on November 1, 2023. This may create less favorable conditions for wines from other member states of the Union. In this sense, the EEC asks to respect the rights of the union and take this comment into account when finalizing the bill.
The government of “RG” confirmed that it received the document – it was sent for study to the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance also believes that at the initial stage of the experiment, “it is necessary to ensure the effective administration of age and time restrictions on the retail sale of alcohol in a new online format.” The issue of expanding the experiment, including from the point of view of increasing sales channels, should be considered during its implementation, the ministry believes. The bill is currently being considered by the government. Until now, the document provides for participation in the experiment of only Russian wine and online sales only by Russian Post in Moscow and the Moscow region.
The experiment on online trading of Russian wines will start on November 1
The President of the Association of Internet Trading Companies (AKIT), Artem Sokolov, agrees with the EEC’s statements. Such an incident can backfire on distortions in connection with the access of Russian manufacturers to the markets of other countries, members of the EAEU, he believes. In addition, now, when the turnover of the illegal Internet alcohol market reaches 30 billion rubles a year, an experiment with the participation of only one logistician and one product will not compete with illegal sales and will not show an objective picture of the demand. and opportunities to satisfy it, along with control, he says.
“The broader the experiment is carried out and the more products of market participants and sites it affects, the more bugs and associated risks will be checked and taken into account,” said Ernest Khachaturyan, CEO of Luding Group.
It is not about making it available to everyone. He believes that large and responsible players who are interested in strict observance of all conditions of the experiment should take part.
According to Khachaturian, including the rest of the alcohol in the distance selling experiment would help support other Russian producers, not just winemakers. First of all, those that have occupied the niches of foreign companies that have left Russia and have difficulties in bringing new brands to the market. This sales channel would also be interesting for manufacturers from other EAEU countries.
Earlier, in an interview with RG, the head of Rosalkogolregulirovanie, Igor Alyoshin, expressed the opinion that the emergence of another legal distribution channel would lead to a redistribution of the market, but not to an increase in consumption. And all the technical means to control this channel have existed for a long time.