The New Zealand textiles industry views Russia as a potential big market for woollen products and a trade delegation is visiting Moscow this week.
Textiles New Zealand chief executive Elizabeth Tennet says that New Zealand used to sell a lot of wool to Russia but the Russian wool industry basically collapsed in the post-Soviet era and they have been importing a lot of products from China and Turkey.
But the young middle class with disposable income are now keen to buy quality wool goods, such as clothing, blankets and carpets, Ms Tennet says, and they want to buy New Zealand products made of natural fibres that come from a sustainable background.
Ms Tennet says seven companies are taking part in the trade delegation, including two selling blended merino wool-possum fibre products.
She says it should be well received because generally Russians have no objection to wearing fur - and possum merino is 40% lighter to wear and 50% warmer than woollen products.