YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The Armenian-Georgian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation began Monday as Armenia and Georgia pledged to boost bilateral trade and join forces in attracting badly needed foreign investment into their economies.
Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli arrived in Armenia Monday and was greeted by his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian, who expressed confidence that the Commission will succeed in reaching agreemen’s that will promote the further deepening of mutually beneficial economic and humanitarian ties between the two countries.
The Georgian leader visited the Dzidzernagapert Memorial Monument and laid a wreath in memory of the victims of the Genocide.
Nogaideli emphasized the attraction of investmen’s from third countries for the development of Armenia and Georgia and underlined the efforts for establishing a common field of investment.
According to Sarkisian, it is necessary to intensify the development of joint projects for this purpose. “It’s obvious that joint projects in any area provide grater opportunities for attracting investment from international financial institutions,” he said.
Serzh Sarkisian also stressed the importance of expanding cooperation in the cultural and educational spheres, saying the two peoples have much to present to each other, and humanitarian cooperation is necessary for maintaining the friendly traditions between the two peoples.
Both Prime Ministers said they agreed to create a “common investment environment” that would make their small countries more attractive to large foreign investors.
“We are going to start working on presenting Armenia and Georgia as a single investment and trade entity to investors interested in working with us,” Noghaideli said after the meeting.
“Only together can we be of interest to big foreign firms,” said Sarkisian. He argued that the small size of Armenia’s and Georgia’s populations is a major factor discouraging foreign direct investment.
Neither would say how the two countries plan to harmonize their investment and other economic legislation.
A separate statement issued by the Armenian government also gave no details, saying only that the idea was high on the agenda of the commission’s meeting.
The meeting also focused on ways of increasing the still modest volume of Georgian-Armenian trade. According to official Armenian statistics, it rose by 16 percent to $51 million in the first half of this year. The figure is equivalent to less than 3 percent of Armenia’s overall external trade during this period.
“Georgia mainly produces goods that are not produced in Armenia and vice versa,” he said. “We are not competitors and can complement deficiencies of our markets.”