ArmInfo. Russia is Armenia's key foreign economic partner, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said when addressing the mass media following his meeting Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan on January 24.
The press office of the Armenian Government quotes Medvedev as saying, "The meetings with our Armenian friends were constructive, saturated and friendly as always. This attitude of mind is just what helps us solve different problems, especially as this year we are marking 25 years of diplomatic relations between our States while friendship between our peoples can be measured by centuries.
As you may know, Russia is Armenia's key foreign economic partner. Its share amounts to 25% of Armenia's foreign trade, and despite the complicated global setting, as we mentioned with my colleague, the indicators of bilateral trade turnover prove quite encouraging. Last year this figure was above USD 1 billion, but what matters most is that the turnover has been on the rise despite the fall in the prices of hydrocarbon fuel and specific goods supplied by our countries.
Another fact to mention is that food imports from of Armenian significantly increased last year due to Armenia's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union, which reflects our common drive for integration.
As to agriculture, I wish to note that a great development potential exists in this sphere not only in terms of bilateral purchases of products or agricultural techniques, but also in terms of creating joint ventures. There are a number of projects, among others featuring greenhouse farms and processed fruits and vegetables, which have access to Russian trade networks. We have a huge market, and I feel we need to focus on this vector in the near future.
We have explored other opportunities as well, including cooperation in investment; we discussed the idea of establishing a special fund to this end. We agreed to instruct the respective agencies to analyze the possibility of forming such a fund aimed at investment cooperation, and of course looking for financing sources.
We have built a level and easy-to-understand playing field for both Armenian and Russian businesses in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. We hope to have fewer customs and bureaucratic procedures so that we could strive to make our markets more open.
Indeed, there are some other directions: the interregional cooperation program for the coming 5 years and a memorandum of cooperation between the Russian Ministry of Industry and the Armenian Ministry of Economic Development and Investment were signed today. These are instruments, based on which we can build up economic cooperation for the coming years.
Of course, humanitarian cooperation and the strengthening of direct contacts between our citizens are of key importance, too. Here everything is all right, but anyway we have agreed that Russian citizens shall henceforth be able to visit Armenia with their internal passports, and a relevant document was signed to that effect. This will help strengthen cooperation in the humanitarian field. While our countries entertain comprehensive economic relations and Russia is Armenia's leading partner, there is a benchmark that can be developed practically from zero. This is very important for our future relations. I wish to reiterate my gratitude to Karen Karapetyan and other Armenian friends for joint work."
According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, in Jan-Nov 2016 Armenia's foreign trade turnover with Russia amounted to $1 224,5 mln (up 14.8%). Armenia's exports to Russia grew by 54% to $337.3 mln, while Russia's imports to Armenia rose by 4.7% to $887.2 mln. The accumulated Russian investments in Armenia's economy have amounted to $2.7 bln.