ArmInfo. Today's hearings on "Economic component of Armenia's foreign policy" covered issues related to enhancement of Armenia's economic image on the international arena.
Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan said in his opening remarks that the Armenian diplomats should increase the economic aspect of their activities and form Armenia's image abroad as a reliable economic partner. "The focus should be put on familiarizing foreign investors with potential and capacities of the country, finding new foreign markets for Armenian commodities, stimulating inflow of capital," he said.
He thinks this has become attainable after the country's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union and a new single market of 180 mln consumers. On the other hand, he said, Armenia is effectively cooperating with the EU and is the only country in the post-Soviet space that enjoys the GSP+ privileges. "Another advantage of Armenia is the common border with Iran, which has acquired investment attractiveness after the removal of sanctions," Karapetyan stressed, adding that Armenia is becoming an attractive partner for both the EU countries and the EEU and Iran, ensuring a link between them.
The Prime Minister noted that under conditions of Armenia's isolation, the diplomats should do a big job to familiarize the external world with the potential and capacities of the country. "I do not think proper measures are being taken to that end. I often ask the foreign ambassadors accredited in Armenia to promote our capacities in their countries," he said.
For his part, Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, Ambassador Argo Avakov said that the OSCE Office in Yerevan also pays much attention to issues of the country's economic development. He noted that the Office is implementing various programs aimed improving the investment climate and attracting foreign investments. The OSCE Office in Yerevan also contributes to the country's representation on the OSCE platform and to finding new sales markets for Armenian goods.
Ambassador Avakov noted that in 2017 the OSCE Office in Yerevan is going to launch projects aimed at improving the business climate and boosting investments. The focus will be put on reforming the customs administration on the Armenian-Iranian border, the diplomat said, adding that the EEU-EU cooperation through Armenia will also be promoted.
Julia Blasius, Director of the FES (Friedrich Ebert Foundation) South Caucasus Office, stressed that Armenia's experience of cooperation with various integration structures can be a example for other countries. She noted that Armenia's experience has demonstrated that it is not compulsory to choose between structures, while it is possible to cooperate with several structures at the same time. Armenia is successfully conducting an integration policy within the EEU and promoting cooperation with the EU amid the unresolved Karabakh conflict and the borders blocked by Azerbaijan and Turkey.