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Taiwan's Acer Exports Computer Equipment To Russia Even After Announcing A Business Halt

Taiwan's Acer Exports Computer Equipment To Russia Even After Announcing A Business Halt
Between April 8, 2022, and March 31, 2023, Taiwan-based computer manufacturer Acer shipped at least $70.4 million worth of computer gear to Russia, according to customs records obtained by Reuters after the company said it would halt operations there.
Despite not being against the law, Acer's actions differ from those of significant Western rivals like Dell and HP who stopped shipping in February and April 2022, respectively, in response to Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to customs records obtained from a source of commercial trade data.
According to the data, Acer shipped equipment to Russia both through its wholly-owned Swiss subsidiary and through a variety of delivery services that were contracted by that subsidiary.
The supplies did not violate Taipei's sanctions against Russia because they came from outside Taiwan. Additionally, they did not involve goods that were prohibited from exportation at the time due to sanctions in Switzerland that were similar to those in the EU.
But on April 8 of last year, the corporation issued a statement that read: "Due to recent developments, Acer has decided to suspend its business in Russia."
According to a statement issued by Acer Sales International SA, Acer in Taiwan in relation to queries about the company making subsequent exports to Russia via Swiss subsidiary, "we strictly adhere to applicable international regulations and trade laws regarding exports to Russia".
The company added that the Swiss subsidiary "had not shipped any laptops or desktops to Russia since April 8 last year", but that it had supplied a "limited number of displays and accessories to the Russian market for civilian daily use while ensuring compliance with international sanctions".
Acer did not explain why it kept sending items to Russia while announcing that it would stop doing business there.
Acer's products, including PC monitors and laptops, reportedly continued to be sent to Russia after April 2022, according to a source knowledgeable with the shipment data who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the subject.
Reuters was unable to determine the origin of or the date of entry into Russia of several Acer products that are currently being sold there.
In line with EU restrictions, Switzerland permitted the export of laptop computers and computer parts to Russia until December 16, 2022. After that date, Acer stopped shipping the newly outlawed goods from Switzerland to Russia.
According to the business, it's probable that importers in Russia obtained Acer gadgets from other nations, as reported by Reuters.
In response to inquiries through email, Acer's Russian division stated that "nothing has changed" since the announcement from April 2022.
According to consultancy firm IDC Russia, Acer made up 18.5% of all PCs sold in Russia in the fourth quarter of 2021, while HP and Dell made up a combined 20.8%.
The shipments demonstrate how foreign-produced goods are still available to consumers despite international restrictions intended to restrict Russians' access to technology and equipment.
Acer ran the danger of harming its reputation, according to Artem Zhavoronkov, a lawyer at the St. Petersburg-based law firm Nordic Star.
At a recent G7 summit in Japan, leaders took action to bolster sanctions against Russia and end Moscow's efforts to circumvent them.
According to Russian customs data, at least 744 shipments of Acer products costing a total of $244.3 million entered Russia between April 8, 2022, and March 31, 2023, as opposed to 3,735 over the same time last year.
According to the data, shipments decreased 71.1% in terms of dollars, with laptops and PC monitors constituting the majority of shipments.
On February 25, 2022, Taiwan made the announcement that it will join the sanctions against Russia, with a specific export licence needed for any technological items on a government-compiled list.
According to Taiwan's Economy Ministry, applications for export "in principle will not be approved" since high performance electronics, such as monitors, screens, and laptops, are listed on this list.
According to the ministry, Acer has not requested one of these licences as of the end of March 2023, and there are no records in Taiwanese customs of Acer exports to Russia. The ministry chose not to add more commentary.
Acer Sales International SA, a business with its registered office in the town of Bioggio in the southern Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland, was the primary supplier of Acer equipment to Russia last year.
Requests for comment received over WhatsApp did not receive a response from a subsidiary official.
According to Reuters, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland declines to comment on particular instances or firms.
Requests for feedback from the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade went unanswered.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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