Russian investments preferable to offshore capital – Armenian economist

10:17 • 26.01.17



Russia, which is Armenia’s number one foreign investor, has made US$2.7 million worth investments in the country’s economy over the past years, according to Atom Margaryan, a Yerevan-based economist.

 

In an interview to Tert.am, Margaryan stressed the role of the Russian investments as a more preferable source compared to the offshore capital which the country used to direct to tourism development and hotel businesses.

 

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, who was on an official visit to Moscow yesterday,  discussed, at an extended meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the Armenian side’s proposal for launching an investment foundation to finance the priority trends in the country’s economy and ensure the Russian capital’s flow to Armenia. The Russian side evaluated the proposal as positive. Is the foundation plan realistic?

 

Any platform that can potentially pave way to increased investments to Armenia (also from Russia) is really welcome. As for the foundation, it is still very early to make any evaluation on that as we now need further clarifications on how create it and consider whether the public or the private sector in the two countries should be its founders. Russia is the number one foreign investor in Armenia, as we have attracted US$ 2.7 million worth investments from Russian sources for different sectors such as development and agriculture. And the Eurasian Economic Union of which Armenia is a member ensures favorable conditions for those investments. The question is to what extent the investment atmosphere is favorable in Armenia to attract a Russian investor, especially when it comes to the private sector.


Is the foundation expected to be a formal structure or will it offer us additional guarantees in terms of securing investments? Do we really need such a foundation given that Armenia has so far managed to attract Russian investments without having it?

 

The state offers additional guarantees for investments.  It is more preferable than offering guarantees under somebody’s ‘high patronage’. It is a step forward.


It will really be a good opportunity to direct investments to specific areas which potentially promise growth by creating competitive products.

 

I think the Russian side has always been interested in making investments in Armenia, especially in the HighTech sector which the country has had since the Soviet times. Russia’s preferences focus on areas in which Armenia generates new products competitive across the Eurasian Economic Union and the EU, and have a high value-added tax.

 

I believe that attracting the Russian capital in Armenia’s economy is more preferable to the offshore capital with unknown origins, which is often directed to hotels, tourism and the services sector.


Are there fears that the Armenian capital’s possible flow into the Russian market and the Armenian businessmen’s facilitated access to it will eventually cause them to develop their businesses there?


I do not rule it out. The problem, however, has to do with the competitiveness of our investment atmosphere. Our capital goes where the conditions are favorable. It isn’t possible to guide the process through such foundations.


Agriculture has a share in our exports - the export of tomato for example. There are doubts that Armenia cannot export tomato in such volumes.


That’s absolutely likely. But we should not have doubts about our businessmen’s ‘prowess’ anyway.  That tomato may as well not have Armenian ‘origins’ at all.

 

Tigranuhi Martirosyan





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