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9 Jun 2023

Filipp Lebedev,
Gleb Stolyarov, Reuters

Acer ships computer hardware to Russia after saying it would suspend business, new investigation shows; incl. co. comment

Exclusive: Taiwan's Acer ships computer hardware to Russia after saying it would suspend business, 9 June 2023

Taiwan-based computer manufacturer Acer supplied at least $70.4 million worth of computer hardware to Russia between April 8, 2022 and March 31, 2023, according to customs data seen by Reuters, after saying it would suspend its business there.

While not illegal, Acer's actions contrast with those of key Western rivals such as Dell and HP which ceased shipments in February and April 2022, respectively, following Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, customs records drawn from a commercial trade data provider show.

The records show equipment produced by Acer was supplied to Russia both through Acer's wholly-owned subsidiary registered in Switzerland and a number of delivery services by order of that subsidiary.

As the shipments originated outside Taiwan, they did not violate Taipei's sanctions against Russia. Nor did they involve items restricted at the time of export by Switzerland's sanctions regime, which mirrors that of the European Union.

But in a statement on April 8 last year, the company said: "Due to recent developments, Acer has decided to suspend its business in Russia."

Asked about subsequent exports to Russia via Swiss subsidiary Acer Sales International SA, Acer in Taiwan said in a statement that "we strictly adhere to applicable international regulations and trade laws regarding exports to Russia".

It 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 say why it continued shipping its goods to Russia despite saying it would suspend business there.

A source familiar with details of the shipments, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, said Acer's products, including PC monitors and laptops, continued to be shipped to Russia after April 2022...

The shipments underline how, despite international sanctions aimed at limiting Russians' access to technology and equipment, foreign-made goods remain available to consumers...