At the end of 2017, the Duma approved a law on unique identifier codes for products sold in Russia. At the moment, the unique product identifiers are being used in a few pilot projects, e.g. fur products. Under a cabinet decision made in early May, the first wave of unique identifiers will become mandatory next year for products that include tobacco products, clothing, footwear, perfumes and automobile tyres. The system of mandatory unique identifiers is planned to be extended later to include other products such as pharmaceuticals.
The identifier must include information e.g. on the product classification and its origin as well as give the item its unique identity. The unique identifier system is to be based on Russian encryption technology and should be implemented by a company partly owned by Rostec, a massive conglomerate operating e.g. in the defence sector. The identifier system is hoped to reduce smuggling, the grey economy and counterfeit goods. Many firms, especially SMEs, fear that system will increase costs and force them to raise prices.