In an interview with RIA Novosti, the president of the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, Ferdinando Pelazzo said that the Italian business lobby in Russia is in the process of finalizing a plan which would allow local buyers in Russia to pay for their Italian products in rubles. He said the mechanism is expected to be ready to go operational by February 14th of 2024.

Pelazzo stated, “We are convinced that on February 14 we will offer the entire mechanism to our board of directors, and from the next day it will be launched. All we need is to report and get the green light.”

He added that the mechanism will only facilitate the payments for unsanctioned goods which are permitted to be imported into Russia. Pelazzo said there are still “some financial issues” which will need to be resolved, however none are so difficult to resolve that they might delay the debut of the new mechanism. Pelazzo had previously explained that the mechanism which is being developed will allow the payment for Italian goods to be made to his lobby in rubles, which will then be transferred to Italy from its account in a third country. It was revealed the lobby will use an Armenian bank for the transfer, however the name of the bank was never revealed.

Pelazzo said, “We have already reached an agreement with an Armenian bank… We will not only control payments, but also logistics. Currently, the costs of sending goods through Armenia and through Europe are more or less the same. The country is not very far from Italy, which will allow us to monitor the entire process more transparently.” He added that the Central Bank of Italy has already granted permission for the new payment mechanism.

Pelazzo first revealed there were plans in the works for a ruble-based payment mechanism to facilitate Italian-Russian trade in July, when he pointed out that trade in unsanctioned products like clothing and wine were being hampered by the financial restrictions that had been placed on Russia. The restrictions had been imposed by the EU over the conflict in Ukraine, making settlement of trade obligations with Western nations particularly difficult, especially the disconnection of Russian banks from the SWIFT international financial messaging system.

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