ArmInfo. The key task for Armenia in this situation is to achieve the export-GDP ratio of 30%, in which finished products should prevail. This opinion was expressed by the doctor of economic sciences, the head of the Center for Economic Research Ashot Tavadyan at the press conference.
According to him, in 2017, Armenia's exports for the first time exceeded $ 2 billion, amounting to $ 2.2 billion. Thus, the growth in exports increased by 25%. With membership in the EEA in Armenia, exports have increased by about 50% over two years, which is the most important factor for the country's competitiveness growth after the country's accession to the structure. According to the expert, the first priority is also the further diversification of exports. It is necessary to use all the capabilities of the EAEC to achieve exports of $ 3 billion.
Russia ranks first in terms of investment in Armenia. It should be recognized, however, that due to sanctions and uctuations in prices for energy resources, there has not yet been a significant increase in the rate of investment in the RA economy.
As Tavadyan noted, in the main exports to the markets of the EEA in 2017 grew due to the chemical industry and the pharmaceutical industry (71.4%), wood products (50.5%), textiles and textiles (35%), finished food products (27%). It should be noted that in 2017, exports to Russia grew by 44.6%. Meanwhile, as Tavadyan noted, Armenia mainly exports raw materials to the European Union.
In 2017, the GDP growth in Armenia exceeded 5%, according to preliminary estimates, making 5.4% against the background of the forecasted figure of 3.2%.
According to him, an increase in the level of competitiveness of the country was facilitated by: the signing of an agreement with the Unified Energy System for the lifting of customs duties; simplification of all procedures - from registration and obtaining of export licenses to customs clearance; stabilization of the Russian ruble exchange rate for 2016-2017. The ruble appreciated by 22.5%, so the currency earnings of exporters to Russia increased accordingly; reduction of gas prices. Armenia receives gas at a price of 150 dollars per 1000m3, despite the fact that the price for gas in the region is 180-190 dollars. Considering that, Armenia consumes about 2 billion of gas a year (in 2017 - 1.996 billion m3, an increase of 7%), the effect is 70 million dollars. When signing the Treaty on the EEA, the gas price was about 400 dollars per 1000m3, and for Armenia the price fell from 270 to 189 dollars.
According to the expert, the decision of the Armenian government to reduce the price of gas for greenhouse farms and processing industry by one-third. Given that energy resources account for approximately 30% of the cost of production, the actual cost of agricultural products has decreased by 10%, which of course also increased the competitiveness of these products.
Export to the EU also increased, which is primarily due to a significant increase in prices for non-ferrous metals. Exports of non-ferrous metals, aluminum sheets, ferroalloys constitute the absolute majority of our exports to the EU. The price of copper in 2016-2017 increased from 4400 to 7000 dollars per 1 ton.
Extraction of metallurgical ores in 2017g. increased by 13.2%. Export of copper concentrate increased by 32%. According to the EU experts on the GSP + system, Armenia saved $ 8.7 million in 2016. In export, at the same time, exporters saved about $ 60 million, taking into account preferential prices for energy resources.
Growth was also recorded in the tourism sector: in the nine months of 2017, Armenia was visited by 1,172 thousand tourists, which is 21% more than in the same period of the previous year. The significant growth of tourists, according to Tavadyan, is not only the result of the membership of the EAEC, which really contributes to the free movement of citizens of the member countries of the structure, but also the decision of the Armenian government on the possibility to visit Armenia from Russia by internal passports.
Transfers to the republic also increased, amounting to 1.489 million dollars (an increase of 7%) instead of 1.382 million dollars in 2016. Mainly Armenia receives transfers from Russia - 63%. Transfers from the United States amounted to 14%, from Ukraine - 5.5%.
As Tavadyan stressed, it is necessary to use all the opportunities created by the Treaty on the EAGE for the creation of joint ventures. There are prospects for cooperation between the EEA countries in the defense industry, engineering, electrical engineering and instrument making, attracting investments in the production of building materials and building copper smelters, in the chemical industry, in light industry, in agriculture and food industry, in the production of medicines, and in the development of tourism.