Wednesday, January 19 2022 19:43
Alina Hovhannisyan

Expert: Armenia will never be able to have a positive trade balance  with Turkey

Expert: Armenia will never be able to have a positive trade balance  with Turkey

ArmInfo.Armenia will never be able to have a positive trade balance with Turkey. A similar opinion was expressed by expert, co-founder of the Export Armenia  Association Emil Stepanyan during a press conference on January 19.

According to Stepanyan, by establishing relations and mutually  opening markets, Turkey will gradually move Armenian goods from  Armenia's trade shelves. "Let someone tell me that something can be  produced in Armenia at a lower production cost than in Turkey, Iran  or another big country," he said.

In this regard, the expert noted that the embargo is not a solution,  but Turkish imports to the Armenian market can be made less  profitable. Stepanyan spoke about the experience of the United States  and Europe, which, within the framework of their state policy,  encourage local producers, setting strict conditions for importers.

At the same time, he pointed out the importance of being able to  distinguish between such concepts as "desirable" and "undesirable"  export/import. The co-founder of the Association noted that the main  part of Armenian exports to the Turkish market is represented by raw  materials, which are processed there and re- sent to the domestic  market. "It's a shame. This needs to be corrected. Who needs such an  export? And certain people in government circles still do not  distinguish between "desirable" and "undesirable" exports.  When they  present export statistics and note the positive dynamics, they do not  say that this is due to the increase in prices, but they talk about  the effective work they have done. Otherwise, they blame everyone  around, except themselves", Stepanyan said.

Speaking about the lifting of the embargo on Turkish goods, the  expert called this decision shameful. In this context, he stressed  that along with the decision to ban the import of Turkish products to  the Armenian market, it was necessary to impose restrictions on the  sale of Turkish goods in our country. For half a year, trading posts  traded Turkish products filled in their warehouses and purchased in  advance. Thus, with the embargo in place, there were no places for  domestic products on the trade shelves of Armenia.

According to Stepanyan, the state, in turn, needed not to limit  itself to recommendations on finding alternative markets, but to work  with manufacturers from the very first day to help the latter occupy  a niche in the domestic market.

In turn, Anna Beklyarova, co-founder of the Export Armenia  Association, pointed out the lack of proper state support for  exporting producers. In this context, she drew a parallel with the  Russian Federation, where there is a powerful "Russian Export Center"  body, which is a state-owned company and assists both beginners and  medium-sized producers to enter export markets. According to  Beklyarova, in Armenia, the consequences of the current situation are  directly related to the absence of such institutions. In addition,  she emphasized the need for a systematic approach to problem solving.  "Don't take issues out of context.  Everywhere they write about  problems in marketing, branding. This is true, but the problems of  the sector are much more numerous", she said. According to the  expert, in addition to process automation and production  modernization, manufacturers also have certain, serious problems with  personnel. In this regard, she pointed out the lack of financial  resources to attract professional managers for branding and  marketing, which has a bad effect on the level of competitiveness of  local products. The state, according to Beklyarova, should develop  appropriate mechanisms for attracting and training the necessary  specialists, including through outsourcing.

Besides, the co-founders of Export Armenia noted that the members of  the Association are not exporters, but experts, business analysts who  can offer numerous programs to solve existing issues. However, there  is no state body that would implement this.

"Today, the exporter does not know where to turn. There was a  "Business Armenia" body, which was closed, and nothing was  established instead of it. <Investment Promotion Center> does not  deal with exporters. There is a foreign trade department of the  Ministry of Economy, but they also do not deal with these issues, but  only create the appearance of work>, Stepanyan complained.

At the end of 2021, the Armenian government decided not to extend the  ban on the import of Turkish goods, introduced in the country at the  end of December 2020, from January 1, 2022. The corresponding  resolution was adopted by the authorities in view of Turkey's  involvement in the 44-day Artsakh war.

As the Minister previously reported, in 2020, goods worth $260  million were delivered from Turkey to Armenia, while the volume of  Armenian exports amounted to about $2-3 million. By the end of 2021,  as Kerobyan said, the volume of Turkish imports decreased by 10  times, and deliveries of Armenian goods were reset to zero.

In mid-December 2021, the governments of Armenia and Turkey announced  the appointment of special representatives to start a dialogue on  normalizing relations.


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