Armenia reports 25.2% growth in exports 2017

At a working meeting held with the President of the Republic of Armenia, Minister of Economic Development and Investments Suren Karayan reported progress in the implementation of the assignments issued by the President of Armenia at the previous meeting and the activities scheduled for 2018, President’s Press Office reported.

Minister Karayan reported that a 25.2% growth in exports was recorded in 2017. As instructed by the President, efforts were made to ensure information access to target markets and launch online sales systems in order to facilitate access to foreign markets for domestic producers and businessmen. Suren Karayan noted that the talks between Iran and China were completed. Agreements with Serbia, Israel, India, Egypt and Singapore are at different stages of negotiations. He highlighted the introduction of the self-certification electronic system referred to as Registered Exporters System (REX) under the GSP+ preferential trade regime with the European Union. The Minister advised that the registration of exporters started this January.

According to the Minister of Economic Development and Investments, there are encouraging trends in tourism, including the 18.7% growth of 2017, which allow the stakeholders to develop more ambitious projects for the next few years. Suren Karayan noted that this was largely due to the marketing activities carried out in this field. To this end, the border crossing process has been simplified for China, UAE, Qatar, Japan, India and Russia.

Coming to the reforms aimed at improving the business environment, Minister Karayan noted that 47 activities were implemented in 2017, with 43 measures scheduled for 2018. The Minister specifically highlighted the programs aimed at facilitating the issuance of construction permits, improving the protection of small shareholders’ interests, tax and customs administration, bankruptcy procedures and enforcement of contracts.

In connection with another presidential instruction on exploring the legislative framework applicable to the protection of foreign investors’ interests and elaborating an appropriate draft, Minister Karayan said they had drafted a bill, which was approved by the Government and sent to the National Assembly.

In compliance with the presidential instruction to provide continued assistance to Meghri Free Economic Zone activities, the Minister of Economic Development and Investments advised that after the first stage, which started with the launch of the free economic zone on December 15, 2017, efforts are underway to implement the second expansion phase, due to be completed by this yearend.

Concerning the President’s instruction to promote the public-private sector partnership process based on success stories, the Minister advised that a relevant draft law had been worked out with the expertise of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The bill will be ready for discussion in March. According to Suren Karayan, the document takes unto account the best international and domestic experience.

Minister Karayan next reported that specific work was done in the period under review with the use of appropriate toolkits to bolster industry. AMD 220 billion-worth 27 investment projects have been approved under the VAT Payments Deferment Instrument as proposed by the customs and tax authorities within the framework of investment programs. The participation of 93 Armenian companies in international exhibitions has been ensured.

The Minister stressed that a 12.6% increase was recorded in industry, largely contributed by the 15.7% growth in the processing industry which developed twice as faster as in 2016. The exports of manufactured goods increased in 2017.
According to Minister Karayan, this year’s main goal is to build on the current achievements, find targeted solutions to the issues raised in specific areas that will help tap the existing potential. The following activities shall be done in this direction: participation in the feasibility study of a copper smelting plant, the establishment of a training and service center with the UNIDO for providing access to textile product export markets, support for the introduction of GMP standards in pharmaceutical industry and a number of other activities.

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