Friday, April 5 2024 13:40
Alexandr Avanesov

Armenia needs alternative if leaves EAEU - expert 

Armenia needs alternative if leaves EAEU - expert 

ArmInfo.Today, April 5, a trilateral meeting will take place in Brussels between Prime Minister  Nikol Pashinyan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, at which economic issues will be discussed.

Most likely, we will talk about a new package of financial assistance to Armenia to increase the economic  stability of the Armenian state and create a balance between the West  and the Eurasian Economic Union. Against the backdrop of these  expectations, voices are increasingly heard in Armenian society  against Armenia's participation in the CSTO and in others, including  economic associations with the participation of the Russian  Federation.

Commenting on such developments to ArmInfo, the famous Armenian  economist Suren Parsyan noted that Yerevan will be able to ensure its  long-term development only if it can actively develop complementary  and mutually beneficial ties with various centers of the world,  including the United States, the countries of the European Union, and  China. , Iran, Russia. Armenia can and does become a bridge between  various centers, as a result of which in recent years the country has  experienced high economic growth, export volumes of domestic products  and services have grown, and large cash flows have been attracted.

In 2023, the country's foreign trade turnover amounted to $20.7  billion, 36.8% of which came from the countries of the Eurasian  Economic Union, 12.9% from the countries of the European Union, and  3.2% from the United States. In other words, Armenia's trade turnover  with the United States and the EU taken together is almost twice as  low as the trade turnover with the EAEU countries. This, as the  economist emphasized, indicates the high degree of dependence of the  republic on the countries of the Eurasian Union. "In itself,  membership and participation of a particular state in a particular  association is not an end in itself, it is a means to ensure progress  in the economy.

At the first stage after Armenia joined the EAEU in 2014, the  republic did not have any tangible benefits, but today, thanks to the  use of this instrument, we have begun to receive very significant  dividends, which must be understood and appreciated. You can always  refuse this unification, but in return you need to find an  alternative," Parsyan noted, adding, for example, that both the US  State Department and the EU raise the issue of the need to increase  the level of sustainability of the Armenian economy and its  diversification, but to achieve these goals it is necessary to have  programs and events.

"Empty statements do not diversify the economy," the economist said,  citing as an example the fact that in 2023, Armenia's exports towards  the EAEU increased by 40.8%, while to the EU countries and the USA,  on the contrary, decreased by 28.2 % and 38% respectively. Thus, as  Parsyan noted, on the one hand, there are calls for diversification  of export directions, and on the other, export volumes to the EU  countries and the USA are declining. "We need to develop mutually  beneficial and complementary ties, no one is against this  possibility, but we must keep in mind a number of circumstances,  including the energy security of the state, especially in terms of  energy prices, food security when it comes to grain , corn or other  essential goods. 99% of all grain supplies to the domestic market of  Armenia come from Russia. And if the Russian Federation stops grain  supplies, we will only have enough production for three months. We  have a similar situation with sugar and buckwheat , and with other  goods, that is, Russia acts as a kind of guarantor of energy and food  security of Armenia, and at present there is simply no alternative to  this," the economist emphasized.

He also pointed out the dangers that a possible rise in gas prices  could bring to the republic, which in a chain reaction would lead to  an increase in prices for electricity, services and goods, including  essentials.  Europe itself, as Parsyan recalled, pays twice as much  for gas as Armenia. "But are we ready to pay 2-3 times more?

In this case, we are talking about basic economic calculations that  need to be carried out in order to understand whether the EU and the  US are ready to pay for such a possible development of events?"  Parsyan noted, adding that the experience of Georgia and Moldova  showed that they were ready for this unready For example, Moldova  pays from $400 to $500 for 1 thousand cubic meters of gas versus $165  paid by Armenia.

The economist called for considering Armenia's membership in the EAEU  in the context of economic benefits, and not political statements.  Armenia must use all platforms, since only in this case will there be  an opportunity for long-term economic development. "If our neighbors  have advantages associated with the presence of oil and gas in  Azerbaijan, and Georgia with its geographical location, then  Armenia's advantage is the presence of good connections with various  centers, which must be actively developed. If today, under pressure  from the West, we break ties with the strategic partner, then where  are the guarantees that tomorrow there will be no demands to sever  ties with Iran or, for example, with China. It is unacceptable when  outsiders try to influence your economic interests," the expert said.   

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