EEU membership unrelated to marketability of Armenian goods - economist

12:25 • 09.09.17



The 180-million market representing the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has always been open to Armenia regardless of the country’s membership in the bloc, a Yerevan-based economist said today, commenting on the prime minister’s recent statement that the Armenian market still remains largely underestimated for many Russian companies.


Speaking to Tert.am, Vahagn Khachatryan proposed conducting analysis on the regional level to consider also the Georgian market’s potential. He cited the tax burden and monopolies in certain sectors as a key obstacle for businessmen.


“The business atmosphere is, in all likelihood, not satisfactory for investments from Russia. Taxation, which isn’t absolutely attractive either, is also part of that atmosphere. Symposiums and different presentations are periodically held, which, too, should boost investments etc., but they either never change or are just a formal procedure because no real changes take place, the business atmosphere remaining virtually what it was some five year ago from now. This is why Armenia is not represented on the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) or EEU market or, on the contrary, the CIS or EEU member states are not represented in Armenia,” he said.


Khachatryan blamed the Armenian authorities for inaction and unwillingness to promote reforms.


“Is the Russian market to blame that Armenian products were never represented there? Neither does  the EEU [membership] have anything to do with that. The 180-million market, which we were being promised, has always practically been open. Also, notably, there was the CIS which offered real advantages we could use for so many years, as it was really a gain for the former USSR countries facing a crisis at the time,” he noted.


“If we had competitive products, the CIS did really offer us all the necessary conditions. So the EEU membership has not essentially given us any advantage at all. We are the same country, facing the same conditions and producing the same goods – with or without quality.”


Asked whether the authorities made the necessary estimates before Armenia’s accession to the EEU, Khachatryan said he strongly believes that the decision to join the bloc was political rather than economic.


But he dismissed the earlier-announced plan to suspend the country’s membership in the Union, considering the idea too artificial.

“Georgia, which is heading towards NATO and the EU, is also an Eastern Partnership member states, its turnover with Russia (which isn’t absolutely its friend) being equal with that of the EU. So it is really important to broadly use the opportunities offered,” he added.

 

Ani Ohanyan





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