Nine Russian banks open Vostro accounts for rupee trade

Russia becomes first country to facilitate rupee-based export-import transactions, says Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal; Ministry working with Department of Financial Services, RBI, traders to expedite adoptionr

November 15, 2022 09:48 pm | Updated 09:48 pm IST - New Delhi

Russia is the only country to engage with India’s rupee-based trade gambit for now, and nine Russian banks have been permitted to open special Vostro accounts to pave the way for such export-import transactions, the country’s top trade official said on Tuesday. 

“For Rupee trade to happen, you require a balance of trade because it is not an international currency,” said Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal. “So if there is a balance of trade, it can flourish… as of now, it is with Russia only,” he added.  

“We want to promote rupee trade because it is in the nation’s interest and unnecessarily, we won’t have to look for dollars,” he observed, adding that the Commerce Ministry was working with the Department of Financial Services, the central bank and traders to expedite its adoption. 

Among the nine Russian banks, Gazprombank had opened an account with Kolkata-based UCO Bank, while six others had opened an account with private lender IndusInd Bank. The central bank, Mr. Barthwal said, has to issue some guidelines to move the process forward.  

“For rupee trade (to materialise), first the importer has to put some money into the trade account. Then only can exporters set it off against their exports. So it is a process. Let us wait for some more time…I am sure it will move forward with the guidelines issued by the RBI and us,” the Commerce Secretary concluded.  

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