Russians will have the chance to buy the new Apple iPhone 14 despite US technology companies leaving the country for Moscow’s parallel import scheme, a senior government official told the RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday.
Russia announced the scheme in March when it allowed retailers to import products from abroad without the trademark owner’s permission.
Asked whether the new iPhone unveiled by Apple on Wednesday would be imported under the scheme, Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov said: “Why not? If customers want to buy these phones, yes. There will be opportunities.”
Apple stopped selling new products in Russia in March, a week after Russia invaded Ukraine, although iPhones, MacBooks and other Apple products are available in Russian stores as retailers sell off their remaining stocks of older models and hold onto newly released devices. Through the import scheme.
Russian mobile network MTS was already selling the new iPhone 14 models on pre-order on Thursday morning. Prices start at 84,990 rubles ($1,398) for the 128GB version.
MTS said delivery could take up to 120 days and it reserves the right to cancel orders if it faces difficulties importing the goods.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Manturov, who is also a deputy prime minister, said last month that the scheme, which covers Western goods ranging from luxury clothing to cars, could reach $16 billion this year, equivalent to about 4 percent of Russia’s 2021 imports.
($1 – 60.78 rubles)