It is economically advantageous for Armenia to trade with Russia and be part of the Eurasian integration union, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Vache Gabrielyan said in an interview with lenta.ru.
According to Gabrielyan, in Yerevan they originally did not understand how Armenia could integrate into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) having no common border either with Russia or any other EEU member-country. “However, our countries have very common standards, our economies are complementary etc. Therefore, integration into the EEU is economically viable and quite useful for Armenia, the only problem was logistics,” he said.
At present, three months after the EEU came into effect, there are still some difficulties, Gabrielyan said, “not everything runs smoothly.” “There are often technical problems with timely delivery of some documents and so on. However, these are solvable issues. What really matters is that trading with Russia and being part of this integration union is in favor of Armenia,” the deputy prime minister said.
At the same time, he said, there is potential to unlock. “I explain this to our businessmen. I tell them: you have an opportunity but no guarantees. You will have to act in conditions of stiff competition. It is not charity. You will have to fight for your place in the markets of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus,” Gabrielyan said.
As Russia imposed counter-sanctions, European agricultural products have disappeared from the Russian market. In this light, Gabrielyan said, Armenia can increase export of agricultural products to the Russian market. “Armenia can export tomato, cucumber, and other vegetables. Presently, the government encourages local producers to build new greenhouses. Traditionally, we have had not large greenhouses occupying an area of 500 meters. Now, we need to build new ones that would occupy several hectares and apply new technologies to upgrade their efficiency,” the politician said.
In Russia they are interested in our agricultural products, he said. Therefore, it is necessary to bring together business representatives of the two countries. “This will boost the economic integration. For instance, we have farmers ready to launch large-scale export of their products to Russia. To ensure their access to the Russian market, it is necessary to organize their meetings. Let the Russian businesspersons arrive in Armenia to get first-hand view of the local production,” he said.
Meanwhile, the deputy prime minister of Armenia sees some other problems in the process of Armenia’s integration into the EEU. “For instance, Armenia’s geographical location does not allow it to become part of that area. We need communication lines with other members of the Union. Well, we have a border crossing in Upper Lars. However, its acceptance capacity is restricted for some reasons. This problem is solvable, of course. Almost all our problems in the field are solvable,” Gabrielyan said. He suggests increasing the acceptance capacity of the Upper Lars checkpoint by ensuring “green route” for Armenian cargoes.
“This issue has already received a positive solution. In addition, a customs point for excisable goods has been opened at Upper Lars. It is important as Armenia exports wine and brandy to Russia. The acceptance capacity of the border crossing would increase also if the road were wider. However, it is a gorge and in winters the traffic is much heavier there. Naturally, such tasks cannot be settled in a couple of months, but consistent and effective efforts will much improve the situation, of course,” he said for conclusion.