YEREVAN, (ARKA)—Corruption and business oligarchs are two major obstacles preventing Armenian companies from entering the markets of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the chairman of the National Union of Employers Gagik Makaryan said in an interview with Hayots Ashkhar.
“Corrupt businessmen make huge profits by selling their goods in Armenia; they use their own rules of game to settle all their problems. These businessmen simply fear external markets, where they may encounter certain risks, where one needs to be more educated to have an understanding of management, and where their methods simply will not work,” Makaryan said.
“Having a market is one thing, but using it is quite a different thing,” he said, adding that one should not forget that the markets were available before Armenia joined the EEU, and Armenian legislation did not prevent free trade with EEU member states.
“The quality of Belarusian goods is high, which means that not all of our products can be competitive there. Russia is Armenia’s second largest trade partner and most Armenian products, except for metals which are sold to Europe, are sold in Russia. They are brandy, alcoholic beverages, jewelry, some devices, canned food, etc.,” said Makaryan.
With regard to the Kazakh market, he said trade with the country leaves much to be desired, and there are several reasons.
“First of all, Kazakhstan is geographically quite distant from Armenia. Both countries are connected mainly by charter flights which complicates the development of trade and economic relations,” he said.
“It is not a secret that the state of the Russian economy has a direct impact on Armenia, regardless of whether our country is a member of the EEU or not. Russia is our main partner. For example, Armenia’s trade with Belarus constitutes 0.8% of total foreign trade. With Kazakhstan it is 0.2%, while trade with Russia accounts for 24%,” he said.
According to the National Statistical Service, Armenia’s trade with Russia in 2014 amounted to $1.4 billion, having increased by 3.2% from 2013. Trade with Belarus amounted to $40.1 million, having declined by 19% and that with Kazakhstan at $7.5 million, also declining by 6.5%.
Armenia’s foreign trade turnover with EEU member countries between January and April of 2015 amounted to $223.9 million.