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Foreign Economic Activity

Vologda Region on Russia's map

The sources of Vologda external trade are deeply rooted in the history. Nevertheless only after the English expedition of Richard Chenlsler Vologda became the genuine "gateway to Pomorye". The Britons making their way from the White Sea to Moscow fully appreciated Vologda's geographic location. Under the patronage of Ivan the Terrible, England got first concessions on salt output and iron ore search.

Danes and Dutchmen successfully competed with Englishmen. Up to now in Veliky Ustyug one can find Nemchinov Ruchey* - a place where once European merchants settled.

Northern natural resources became Vologda's leading export items. In the 18th century products of saw-mills were exported to Northern Europe. Vologda tar was sent to Persia. Curred leather was also in great demand abroad.

Butter became a special item of the Vologda export late in the 19th century. Nikolay Vereshchagin, the founder of the northern butter making, obtained preferential tariffs on railway transportation of the new goods. First butter was exported only to Western Europe. It is known that Danish merchants sold their own butter to England while buying cheaper butter for their country in Vologda. Early in the 20th century the Vologda butter broke into new markets in Turkey and the Middle East.

Later, with the development of new industries - ferrous metallurgy, chemistry and machine building industry on the territory of the Vologda Oblast, the trade structure has become determined by produce of these industrial giants.


The Vologda Region cooperates with 114 countries. The largest trading partners of the Vologda Oblast are Poland (9.11% of turnover), the Republic of Belarus (8.7%), Finland (8.5%), Latvia (6.1%), Italy (5.3%), Germany (4.9%), China (4.7%), India (3.5%), and the United States (3.3%),accounting for 37,9% of the oblast's foreign trade turnover.

Largest trading partners, January-November 2019


In January-November 2019 the external trade turnover of the Vologda Oblast amounted to $ 4,7 bln. The Region's businesses export ferrous and non-ferrous metals, chemical products, timber and lumber, industrial machinery and other products. The leading imports are metals, machinery and equipment, chemical products, fuel, gas, energy, and wooden products.

The branch structure of the oblast's economy determines export deliveries of the Vologda Oblast to CIS- and foreign countries. Ferrous metallurgy, chemical and timber industries take a dominating position. In January-November 2019 the cost of export supplies made up $4 bln. The leading exports were ferrous and non-ferrous metals (47,6 % of the cumulative total), chemical products (33,6 %), timber, lumber and paper (10,3 %).

Structure of export, January-November 2019


In 2019 Vologda's aggregate imports amounted to $0,7 bln.

Primary imports are machine building products (49,9 in the total value of imports); ferrous and non-ferous metals (13,5 %), food products, chemicals (9,7 %).

Structure of import, January-November 2019


Major directions of foreign economic activity development

The purpose of foreign economic activity of the Vologda Oblast is to strengthen the existing positions and to develop new sectors of the world market by increasing competitive positions. Activities for the development of foreign trade cooperation in the region are aimed at intensifying and deepening existing ties with such partners as Germany, China, Belarus, Finland, Uzbekistan, France, Azerbaijan, Hungary, and Italy.

Delegations from the Vologda Region are active participants of international events held on the territory of the Russian Federation and abroad. Shows, fairs and exhibitions are an excellent way to impress and attract investors or reconnect with existing clients, and maintain a positive image.

The Vologda Oblast Government developed the following directions:

  • enlarging spheres of foreign economic cooperation with strategic partners and establishing new business contacts, with regard to Russian foreign policy and regional interests;
  • further improvement of the Oblast's investment attractiveness rating in order to draw foreign investment into the Oblast's economy;

Implementation of these measures worked out by the Vologda Oblast Government encompassed the following:

  • providing necessary amounts of external trade turnover, taking into account changing conjuncture of main products of Vologda manufacturers on world and regional markets;
  • stimulating and promoting Vologda's exporters, providing incentives for local commodity producers, pursuing a well-balanced policy towards oblast's leading importers and investors;
  • promotion of investment attractiveness of the region, improving mechanisms of regional guarantees for foreign investors.

Economic cooperation and trade relations between the Vologda Oblast and European countries have old history, and success achieved by these partners during this process open wide perspectives for further expansion of trade-economic and financial cooperation between them.