YEREVAN, September 6. /ARKA/. It is difficult today to predict what impacts Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union will have on investment climate in the country, Vahagn Lalayan, chief of the Armenian economy ministry’s division in charge of investment policy, said today in an interview with ARKA News Agency.
Armenian and Russian presidents, Serzh Sargsyan and Vladimir Putin, made a joint statement after they met in Moscow on Tuesday. The statement has unveiled Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union and its intention to take part in formation of Eurasian Economic Union in the future.
“There is no hard and fast answer here – if business is directed on access to Russia and CIS countries’ markets, then of course, Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union will foster this process, and if exporters’ target is the European Union, then the Association Agreement will spur such businesses,” Lalayan said in his interview. “But this is not an axiom, and while our country is neither Customs Union nor Association member, we have enterprises working in both directions.”
In the event of economic benefit, he said, Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union won’t bar European investments.
“This is rather political matter, and business is always going for its profits – is there is profit, a country’s affiliations are not important,” Lalayan said.
He stressed that a very comprehensive study is needed for saying precisely what exactly Armenia will benefit from joining the Customs Union.
“The most difficult will be investment policy for studying, since investors are not always grounding on political aspects and developments,” the expert said. “In many problematic countries, large investments are still made. Even some countries whose relations are hobbled by political problems maintain investment cooperation with each other. It is difficult to say precisely, but both favorable and adverse impacts are possible.”
Foreign investments made into Armenian economy’s real sector for the first six months of this year not via banks and without state administration total $293 million – 34.7% year-on-year decline.
Direct foreign investments amounted to $118.1 million in Jan-June 2013 – 64.2% year-on-year decline.
Argentina was the biggest investor in Armenian economy’s real sector in Jan-June 2013 – it has invested $76.1 million here for the first six months of this year.
Armenia’s other big investors are Russia ($38.4 million), Canada ($36.5 million), Cyprus ($35.7 million) and France ($28.9 million). ---0----