Karabakh Attracts Foreign Investor Prospects

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The intention of the Swiss Andre Group and Frank Muller companies to establish business cooperation in Karabakh has caused a negative reaction on behalf of the Azeri foreign ministry and president Aliyev who warned the Swiss leadership against inadmissibility of Swiss’ companies participation in any project in Karabakh until the conflict was fully regulated–writes the Moscow based Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

Baku’s position is quite understandable. Azerbaijan is consistent in its reluctance to see Karabakh neither as a sovereign subject in the process of Armenian-Azeri political dialogue nor in the economic sphere. It is doubtful ignoring one of the sides to the conflict may have a positive effect on bilateral peace efforts and in the format of the OSCE Minsk group–goes on the paper. However–the question is why the Swiss companies which are not inclined to display any political preferences and excessive economic risk–have chosen Karabakh as a potential area for their investmen’s.

A source in the Karabakh government told the paper that tens of famous companies from Russia–the US–Canada–France–Italy and other countries are holding active negotiations on forming cooperation. Considerably big investmen’s have already been made in local wineries–milk–mineral water–jewelry–carpet making production–agricultural food and diamond processing enterprises.

It is noteworthy that the investment boom began after Anushavan Danielian had been appointed prime minister of the breakaway republic–writes the daily. One of the first steps of the new government was elaboration of a long-term program for economic development. The main points of the program are creating exclusively favorable conditions for investors and carrying out cardinal reforms in tax policy.

The program was presented in the US during Danielian’s visit there and a visit of a group of US businessmen followed. Soon after that the local economy began displaying an apparent tendency for sustainable growth–which–on the one hand was a positive impulse for foreign companies and on the other hand it allowed the local authorities to begin perfecting the social infrastructure.

Practically–all issues connected with registration and conclusion of agreemen’s are solved within a few hours. Moreover–all foreign investors point to the well-wishing of local officials and a minimum risk for making investmen’s. Thus–a businessmen who makes a $50,000 to $100,000 investment in the local economy is exempt from taxes for a year–over the next two years he pays only half of all taxes. The more the volume of investmen’s–the more the tax privileges are. Taking into account that the energy produced by power stations located on mountain rivers is the cheapest in the region–the Karabakh government has worked out a program of attracting investmen’s for upgrading the power grid of Karabakh and exporting surplus energy to Iran and Georgia through Armenia.

All these factors turn Karabakh into a serious partner for foreign investors. As evidence of it Anushavan Danielian has been invited to present the program in business forums to be held in Italy and Switzerland despite Azerbaijan’s sharp counteraction.

As some experts say–Azerbaijan’s irritation is caused not only by apparent political circumstances–but by the fact that the level of corruption and public servants’ violations have caused an outflow of investmen’s from Azerbaijan.

These factors are evidence that the entrepreneurship development is possible only with stability–order and "fair play"–guaranteed by the state.

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