Tag Archives: Armenian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

On 15 September, an EU-supported multisectoral trade and investment three-day fair, the ‘Europe in Armenia Expo’, opened its doors. The EU Delegation to Armenia, jointly with the European Business Association and EU Chambers of Commerce, organised the first Expo fully dedicated to fostering and developing trade connections between European and Armenian companies. Many different sectors with business-to-business matching potential were represented, such as tourism, IT, banking, agriculture, textiles and machinery. Companies had the chance to exhibit their products and services to the business visitors from the EU, Armenia, Iran, and other countries and to establish joint ventures and agreements.
The fair was designed to explore investment opportunities, to provide import and export opportunities for European and Armenian manufacturers and service providers, and to serve as a meeting place for European and Armenian, as well as Iranian businesses.
The EU is one of the Armenia’s main trading partner. While landlocked and with a relatively small internal market, Armenia is a gateway to many economical giants, to which it has preferential access. Armenia benefits from the EU preferential trade scheme GSP+ as of 1 January 2014. GSP+ grants zero customs duties on over 6,200 tariff lines for Armenian businesses on the exports to the EU.

ARS_5634The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, attended the opening event and spoke of the Expo’s importance: ‘As Ambassador I am instructed to pay attention to the promotion of European business economic interests; I do it with great pleasure. Today we are opening this Expo for the first time – I hope it becomes a tradition. We want European business to be more present in Armenia, we want European business to overcome prejudice and to treat Armenia as a regular market. The EU remains the biggest export market for Armenia. However, what it is even more inspiring it is the fact that dynamics of Armenian exports to Europe is positive. It was pointed out by the Armenian Prime Minister this year that the growth of Armenian exports to the EU was bigger than exports to the Eurasian Union. This is important because entrance to EU markets is much more difficult. That said, we are still not happy with the situation concerning EU imports. It has decreased in recent years but I hope it will rebound’.

ARS_5672The Head of Unit (E2) of the European Commission Directorate General for Trade, Petros Sourmelis, appreciated the chance to attend the Expo: ‘I would like to thank and congratulate the organisers. I think this event is extremely timely for three reasons: firstly, the EU represents very important share of trade for Armenia and it was high time to bring together Armenian and European businesspeople to discuss how they can further increase cooperation. Secondly, this event is taking place a few weeks before the signature of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. Thirdly, it is occurring just as the EU is pursuing more articulate and proactive economic diplomacy. I cannot think of a better illustration of EU diplomacy in Armenia’.

ARS_5663The Armenian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Harutyunyan, also noted the significance of the event: ‘This Expo is very important to us, because Armenia needs to understand the possibilities of importing new European technologies and equipment. We attach great importance to European investment in Armenia, and from that viewpoint it is very important to get experience and knowledge from it. Europe is also important for us as an export market; we are taking great step to improve this relationship and will continue to do so that Armenian companies can access European markets more easily. We are seeing development, but we would like to diversify our exports to Europe as much as possible’.

The three-day fair also gave a space for the “EU – Armenia – Iran” forum, business to business meetings and round table discussions.