ArmInfo.Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Tian Erlong is convinced that Armenian honey will be in demand in the Chinese market. At the festival of honey and berries in the city of Berd, Tavush region, to the question of ArmInfo correspondent, whether Tavush honey has been tried in China, given the popularity of this product among Chinese consumers, and the fact that one of goods supplied by the RA to the PRC is honey, the Ambassador noted that the process is just starting.
"I think that if the market opens, it will be huge, very capacious. You know that in May this year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Armenia. During this visit, an intergovernmental agreement was signed on visa-free mutual trips of citizens of the two countries, as well as the protocol on the quality parameters of honey imported from Armenia. Therefore, I think this is a good opportunity for Armenian agricultural products to enter the Chinese market, " the Ambassador said.
Meanwhile, when asked to clarify how the liberalization of the visa regime will affect the tourism sector of the two countries the diplomat noted that the procedures for ratification of the document have not yet been completed. "But, I think that they will soon be completed in Armenia, in our country they are actually completed. I believe that this year the agreement will come into force, and this will certainly contribute to increasing tourism exchange and cooperation between our countries," the Ambassador of PRC said.
In this context, he noted that this year, as well as over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of Chinese tourists traveling to Armenia. According to him, this is due to facilitated entry procedures, Armenian hospitality, and the magnificent nature of Armenia. Erlong is convinced that all of these factors are very attractive for a foreign tourist, especially from China. As ArmInfo previously reported, Armenia and China introduce a visa-free regime. At the meeting of July 11 this year, the Government of the Republic of Armenia approved for ratification the draft of the relevant agreement, which will be forwarded to the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia in the established manner. The parties declared their readiness to develop these relations by signing an agreement allowing citizens of the two states with ordinary passports and without visas to be in each other's territory for 90 days.
To note, back in 2015, the volume of export of Armenian honey to China amounted to only $ 90 thousand in monetary terms, and in 2016 the PRC imposed a ban on its supply due to non-compliance with the required standards. In 2017, the Armenian Ambassador to China, Sergey Manasaryan, said that the Armenian side took this circumstance into account and managed to undergo the necessary certification procedures, as a result of which the supply of honey should resume. A preliminary permit agreement was signed. According to the RA Customs Service, in 2018 Armenia reduced the export of honey by 37.9% to 34.4 tons. At the same time the customs value decreased by 25% to $ 259.4 thousand. Mostly, the entire volume of exported honey falls on the US market (85%), the rest is distributed between Russia (5.5%), the United Arab Emirates (2.3%), Belgium (1 ,7%), Lebanon (1.1%). Only 0.3% of total exports are supplied to China.
At the same time, positive dynamics is observed in terms of honey imports. In particular, the volume of imported honey increased by 53.3% to 21 tons, while the customs value increased by 53.3% to $ 108.2 thousand. Ukraine is the main import market (96.2%). It should be noted that the Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia provides no data on honey production.