Britain said the move would affect luxury vehicles, high-end fashion and art, without specific details on which items will be included. British companies sold £2.6 billion worth of goods to Russia last year.
Robert Lands, a partner at law firm Howard Kennedy, says: “The final list may resemble the list of luxury goods that the EU bans companies from exporting to North Korea.
“This includes jewellery, artwork, clothes and shoes worth more than €20 (£16) each and handbags worth more than €50.”
Alternatively, it could reflect the full list of banned items published by the EU this week, which includes goods worth more than €300 each. This covers jewelry such as diamonds and pearls, fine pottery, porcelain tableware, ski equipment, watches and clocks, expensive clothing, and even riding saddles.
Cars, however, must be worth more than €50,000, electronics more than €750 and musical instruments more than €1,500 because the EU apparently didn’t want to hit ‘the ordinary Russian’.
The sale, supply, transfer or export – directly or indirectly – of luxury goods to any person, entity or body in Russia or for use in the country was no longer permitted, the EU said.
Helen Brocklebank, chief executive of Walpole, which represents the UK luxury sector, said the brands “fully support the sanctions imposed on Russia”.
It adds that all of its roughly 250 members, such as Burberry and Rolls-Royce, had already voluntarily withdrawn from the Russian market in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
“The events in Ukraine are a tragedy for its citizens and we hope for a rapid de-escalation of this deeply troubling situation,” she said.
Cars are the UK’s top export to Russia with annual sales of £386m, or nearly 15% of all exports to the country, according to the most recent data from the Department for International Trade. Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce, all popular with wealthy Russians, have showrooms in the country.
Still, it represents a relatively small share of overall production: the UK ships fewer than 10,000 vehicles a year to Russia, down from a total of 860,000 last year. Other major exports are medicines, heavy machinery and generators.
Meanwhile, prestigious auction houses Bonhams, Sotheby’s and Christie’s are canceling their upcoming Russian art auctions in London due to the war in Ukraine.
The auctions, usually held in June, were a favorite with Russian collectors, The Art Newspaper first reported.
Bonhams said it has no office in Russia and does not hold auctions in the country.
Sotheby’s said it “maintained a small office in Moscow for many years, which is currently closed” and stopped shipping to and from Russia several weeks ago. He would “strictly follow the sanctions and regulations.”
Christie’s, which has closed its two-man office in Moscow to the public, said sales in Russia were ‘relatively weak’ and added it had ‘strict customer identification’ and a ‘screening process in place’ to monitor transactions. “Christie’s will comply with all applicable laws, including the ban on exporting luxury goods to Russia,” he added.