New EU battery sanctions against Russia soon to be implemented

New EU battery sanctions against Russia soon to be implemented

New EU battery sanctions against Russia soon to be implemented 1024 683 Batteries International

April 7, 2022: Tougher new EU proposals to restrict trade with Russia are likely to include exports of lead batteries and related battery tech products and services, BESB understands.

European Commission president Ursula van der Leyen (pictured) said on April 5 that EU member states were being asked to approve a fifth round of sanctions, “to degrade Russia’s technological base and industrial capacity” over its invasion of Ukraine.

An EU official told BESB on April 6 that they could not comment on specifics, when asked if lead and lithium battery exports would be halted. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said details could not be made public until all EU member states had approved the measures

But the official said the proposals followed increases in export controls on dual-use goods that were agreed on February 25 to limit Russia’s access to crucial technologies.

Those export controls have been in place for the military sector since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 — but now the same products “are controlled, even if intended for civilian users or purposes”, the official said.

‘Tough times ahead’

According to latest data from the International Lead Association and EUROBAT — as reported separately by BESB — EU member states collectively export around €2 billion (about $2.2 billion) of lead acid batteries alone to countries outside the bloc, including Russia.

Farid Ahmed, lead analyst at research house Wood Mackenzie, told BESB that Russia has imported around 170,000 tonnes of batteries per annum over the past few years — largely from China but also from other countries including the Czech Republic, Germany, South Korea and Kazakhstan.

A Europe-based industry insider told BESB any cessation of battery exports to Russia would have no immediate effect, but he warned that tough times for the battery industry could lie ahead once products provided through existing supply chains had been used up.

“I know that some of the companies I work with have already stopped sales to Russia,” he said.

“The impact of this will likely be that it steers the Russian internal market to stronger supply relationships with China and India. On the western side, there will be some loss of sales adding to other problems such as the supply chain and Covid.”

Photo: EU Commission audiovisual service