Laws no impediment to imports in Armenia – economist

12:45 • 29.10.16



The Armenian Government’s new program proposes measures to boost investments and exports. In a speech at a recent cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan dropped hints for ruling out monopolies, saying that “any person can import any product to the country."


Tert.am has interviewed Raffi Mkchyan, the president of the Armenian Association of Importers, over import- and export-related issues and potentials of searching new markets.



Mr Mkchyan, the Government has submitted a new program. What are the differences compared to the former one, and what are the obstacles in Armenia for carrying out imports and exports?


The laws in Armenia have never been an impediment for anyone in terms of carrying out imports. The real obstacle for people is the unwritten laws, the red tape etc. What the prime minister said is that anyone who wishes to make imports can do so. If there are people who turn out bold enough to import monopolized products without any threats or damage, then the prime minister is right.


We hear repeated calls for changing the economic trend in Armenia to boost more exports rather than imports. What do we need for that?


Our problem today has to do with market monitoring and the monitoring of goods. What we need to know is to what extent our product corresponds to international standards etc. The question is where our product is in demand and where it can be competitive. That’s the problem and the global issue. We must try to conquer new markets and produce new goods which would be competitive and necessary for those markets.


How to attract new markets under conditions of the 10% decreased overturn between Armenia and Russia in the first quarter of this year?

This is why we should not limit the search for markets only to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). We need to look for markets in Europe and America. The EEU became an export rather than an import for Armenia as 90% of the consumer goods are of Russian origin.  


After the choice of the EEU market, we repeatedly heard opinions that the Armenian market is not competitive in Europe and that there are higher chances to make exports to the EEU market.  


That’s what I actually mean. We have many products which are really really competitive; yet, many others need re-processing to acquire new taste and design.


The Armenian brandy, for example, is really palatable, but it is too strong for a European. Hence, we need to think of something new to pave its way to Europe. Our opportunities are limited, but we can probe for new ways, thanks to our studies, for producing goods that would be competitive on different markets.


Are there prerequisites or state support for that?


We do not need the state’s support. The time for the government’s role is when it comes to giving an official form to everything. That is, the export and packaging are a burden for the government. Our problem today has nothing to do with manufacturing; it’s all due to the absence of non-competitive goods.


 

Betghehem Arabyan





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