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Armenia's Economic Pulse

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  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

    RUSSIA NEEDS ALLIES, ARMENIAN EX-AMBASSADOR SAYS

    09:25 ~U 15.10.13

    In an interview with Tert.am, a former Armenian ambassador to Russia,
    Suren Sahakyan, addressed the recent statements that Armenia is not a
    welcome guest in the Customs Union, as well as the possible benefits
    that the country would gain in case of acceding to the organization.

    Mr Sahakyan, you are a proponent of Armenia's accession to the
    Customs Union. The Armenian society showed - to say the least -
    varied responses to the Armenian and Russian presidents' statement
    on Armenia's accession to the Customs Union.

    I agree that the Armenian society did show varied responses to that
    statement. But I would like to address the economic aspect of the
    issue. In analyzing any matter we should consider the "pluses" and
    "minuses." Unfortunately, no one has made such an in-depth analysis in
    Armenia. The so-called "gas arguments" are mostly being put forward
    or moral values or corruption are being talked about, whereas the
    Customs Union is, first of all, an economic phenomenon. It should
    first of all be views from the following aspect: will Armenia benefit
    from it and what benefits they may be.

    The Polish ambassador to Armenia recently made a rather fiery speech,
    stating that, if Armenia initialed an Association Agreement with
    the European Union (EU), it would have an annual income of US $150
    million in two or three years. I should note that after joining the
    Customs Union US $150 million will flow into Armenia's economy due
    to the natural gas that will be supplied to Armenia at a fair price,
    which is a "plus." If we do not join the Customs Union, but move in
    the European direction, which, I think, is quite vague, because the EU
    has its owns problems, including those with Romania and Hungary. Given
    the fact that we are purchasing the Russian gas at the same price as
    Europe does, it is a "minus."

    I think we should also consider the Customs Union's benefits in
    the context of labor laws. It is common knowledge that thousands
    of Armenian citizens are working in Russia. After Armenia joins
    the Customs Union, they will enjoy all the rights citizens of
    the other member-nations. And we have specific documents to this
    effect. The same social guarantees are in question as well. For
    example, jobseekers will not have to fill in immigration forms. The
    current registration regime will be abolished. That is, we can make
    the people's life much easier. In any case, they are in Russia, and
    if we do not accede to the Customs Union, we will create difficulties
    for them. Also money transfers to our country, which are essentially
    fueling Armenia's economy. The Customs Union member-states are close
    to Armenia in terms of culture, technologies, markets and standards. I
    wish our economists or politicians, who are proponents or opponents
    of Armenia's accession to the Customs Union, cited concrete figures
    for society to see the figures.

    Regarding the ideological aspect, I do not think that the Customs
    Union member-nations - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan - do not seek
    high standards of panhuman values, human rights and democracy. All
    the nations are seeking. All the nations are seeking them. However,
    if a country is not prospering, any panhuman or democratic values
    are not worthy speaking of.

    Don't you rule out the possibility that nobody is waiting for us
    in the Customs Union? Many analyst think [President] Serzh Sargsyan
    wouldn't have made the September 3 statement if not [the plan] for
    initialing the Association Agreement in Vilnius.

    As for the analysts, most of them - and that's the practice around
    the world - they receive commissions from specific centers. The
    independent, unbiased analysts, so to say, are very few in number. So
    given this struggle for dominance in the world and the cheap resources,
    it is important to consider who that analyst is, and who preceded
    him or her. And I think it is very natural for each of the sides to
    use ideological, analytical and other fronts.

    Now let us return to the statement that "they are not waiting for us"
    in the Customs Union. Let us take Russia, the most powerful country
    in the Customs Union, and its dynamics. [First President] Boris
    Yeltsin handed over power with a state budget of 20 billion Roubles;
    [his successor] Vladimir Putin increased that amount to 500 billion
    Roubles in the course of ten years.

    Russia needs allies; it is very difficult to get along in the world
    without allies. Obviously, Armenia is not only an economic partner
    but also a geopolitical ally for Russia. Armenia needs Russia to feel
    more confident in the South Caucasus, and Russia has proven that this
    region is of vital importance for it. Hence, Russia is interested to
    have Armenia next to it as a partner. So why should Russia ban our
    [entry] to the Customs Union? In terms of resources, Armenia is of no
    interest to Russia because Russia itself is a challenging country for
    the world due to its resources. All aspire to [gain access] to the
    Russian natural resources, and they wish to acquire them at prices
    as cheap as possible. So, I repeat again, what's the point?

    So you rule out the possibility that Armenia will not accede to the
    Customs Union?

    I rule out the possibility that if Armenia accedes to the Customs
    Union, Russia will repel it. I think that's a comfortable situation
    in a sense that alliance can be concluded in normal conditions,
    allowing for logical dividends.

    And another question is, why should Europe need us? To the best of my
    knowledge, we are not economically important for them either Europe
    needs us to undermine Russia's position if the South Caucasus. And
    after Russia is pushed back from this region, we will be of no interest
    to Europe.

    Mr Sahakyan, Georgia is nonetheless heading towards Europe.

    Georgia has obviously stood out with positive trends over the past
    years, and the Georgian authorities manage to ensure a high salary for
    employees of the government sector thanks to bonuses from abroad, and
    they demand that they mutually have a normal attitude to the people.

    But let's have a look at the economy of Georgia. They have lost
    their brand markets. And to bring each brand back to the market, huge
    amounts of money are necessary. The Georgian [mineral water] Borzhomi,
    bay leaf etc. no longer go to the Russian market in the volume they
    might go. So what prevents Georgia from doing what it is doing now:
    developing economically on the one hand and continuing the practice
    with officials by giving them high salaries and making demands?

    Demands for anti-corruption measures and a normal attitude to the
    people? Was the internal mentality the hindrance ...? They every year
    get huge sums for the maintenance of the state machinery; what if
    they come to a halt one day? What's the structure of Georgia's society?

    They used to have an enterprise of chemical additives, and Greece had
    an aluminum plant and other enterprises, but because the EU exercises
    a strict control, the Greeks do not have an aluminum plant any more.

    So all they are supposed to do is to produce tomatoes. This leads
    to a change in the society's social structure. This is, by the way,
    an issue of key importance for the state. When Armenia is declared a
    country delivering services, we'll lose our scientific potential, our
    engineering potential, and engage ourselves only in agriculture and
    services such as mountain skiing, tourism and restaurants. But those
    branches do not represent the powers of the country; the society's
    potential is determined first of all by the high-quality potentials
    of the human resources doing scientific, medical and development work.

    We got rid of the USSR, having an intellectually powerful and skilled
    society, and we wasted that in the course of twenty years. Why?

    Because people are not in demand today; they are unemployed.

    And will they be in demand after the accession to the Customs Union?

    And why not? I don't even address the security issue [and don't even
    question] whether Europe guarantees our security; I take purely
    an economic outlook, i.e. - whether Armenia is of any interest
    to a foreign investor. Or is Ukraine more attractive in terms of
    investments? [It has] after all a cheap labor force, very close
    communication channels and huge markets. So where will the investor
    go? But they won't go even there. Let me note that investments have
    been recently the basic trend in Russia and China. We, on the contrary,
    are trying to detach ourselves from that. Will the European investors
    come to Armenia to build plans or will a generation of engineers
    or scientists emerge here? Did they go to Georgia? There too, hotel
    businesses and services in the seaside regions basically appear to
    be the sectors attracting investments; and the main investor is Turkey.

    Let us bear in mind that in case of not joining the Customs Union,
    we'll see a drastic surge in the prices of energy carriers; any
    investor will take this into account. If it is higher from the prime
    cost of his own product, why should he come to us, to a country which
    has communication problems and closed borders, and is in a risk zone
    in terms of armed conflicts etc?

    So we received a proposal Armenia couldn't reject?

    And what prevents us from rejection? If the problem about the rejection
    is that you have to prove you are very proud and super-independent,
    that's not a sober approach. If you calculate your 'pluses' and
    'minuses' and see the former are more, then I agree with the
    structuring of the question that we received a proposal which was
    very difficult to reject.

    http://www.tert.am/en/news/2013/10/15/suren-sahakyan/
    Hayastan or Bust.

    Comment


    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

      THE HUFFINGTON POST: NEW ENTREPRENEURIAL INITIATIVE BRINGS TINY ARMENIA TO FOREFRONT OF WORLD IT INDUSTRY

      09:28 ~U 15.10.13

      ONEArmenia and its latest venture, the Shift::Tech initiative bring
      tectonic change to Armenia, one project at a time.

      Ad executive and entrepreneur Patrick Sarkissian founded ONEArmenia
      in 2012 in order to take advantage of that country's remarkable brain
      power and cultural strength and to help to save a young generation
      of Armenians from the corruption and negativity prevalent in all
      post-Soviet Republics. Armenians, who have been around for some three
      thousand years, are wont to go on about their sometimes glorious
      past and the many great entrepreneurs and artists that they have
      produced over the centuries. But the collapse of the USSR, a war with
      Azerbaijian, a frightening Earthquake and blockade by Turkey have left
      many in the Republic of Armenia morose. Emigration has surpassed one
      million (out of four million) souls. Corruption is rampant.

      "Enough looking backwards!" might be an apt motto for Sarkissian and
      his colleagues at ONEArmenia. In a remarkably short period of time,
      Sarkissian has brought together like-minded entrepreneurs and cultural
      workers including hospitality entrepreneur James Tufenkian who produces
      gorgeous oriental carpets and has opened a chain of top-rated hotels
      across the country. The idea behind

      ONEArmenia is to use crowd sourcing and crowdfunding--modern
      fundraising tools--in order to raise money for much-needed projects
      in the humanitarian, environmental and tech fields. Each project
      donation is completely vetted to produce zero percent corruption--a
      most attractive feature to potential investors, young and old.

      Of the organization's many projects, its Shift:: Culture has been
      particularly enticing. The project received submissions from all over
      the globe, both within Armeniua and from its far-flung diaspora. The
      winner, the Epsidon Theater Group, took an old Armenian story by
      the great writer Nar-Dos called "He and I" and transformed it into
      a vibrant, contemporary rock opera. The project was so successful
      and the enthusiasm for it so great that Sarkissian then launched
      ONEArmenia's current undertaking SHIFT:: Tech. As the "shift" in both
      titles suggest, the idea is to shift traditional ways of thinking both
      in and outside Armenia about the Republic and the possibilities it
      affords. "Armenia is a country with 99% literacy and 36% unemployment,"
      Sarkissian explains: "I wanted to bring attention to Armenia's highly
      successful IT sector which has already produced hundreds of millions
      of exits (export dollars)."

      Shift:: Tech is an open call to develop a mobile app in Armenia
      for the world market. Armenia is already considered a high-tech hub
      for the former CIS countries and the Caucasus. In fact the world's
      premiere, full-featured mobile photo editor, Picsart, Inc., for
      example, was founded there and already has over 77 million users. It
      was developed and produced in one of the many small offices which
      now dot the country's capital Yerevan, which are reminiscent of
      Silicon Valley's early days when people put together giants like
      Apple inside small crowded garages and the like. Armenia's booming
      IT sector, considered to be virtually corruption-free, accounts
      for no less than 20% of the country's annual GDP. Not surprisingly,
      start-ups are popping up all over the country. Says David Bequette,
      OneArmenia's in-country director: Armenia's potential is not up for
      debate...it doesn't need to look any farther than the Internet for
      an environment where the talents of its young engineers, programmers,
      designers and software developers can truly take flight."

      SHIFT:: Tech's winning entry will be voted on by a peer review
      committee that includes some industry powerhouses, including Alexis
      Ohanian, Co-Founder of Reddit and Hipmunk, Matthew Brimer, co-founder
      of General Assembly and Yoav Kutner, the Co-Founder of Magento and
      Oro CRM. "SHIFT:: Tech offers enough support for the winning team of
      developers to focus their time and efforts exclusively on an app idea
      and make it a reality by building a functioning, viable product for
      a big global marketplace", said Nigel Sharp, founder of LionSharp
      Solutions--a leading creative technology start-up: "Awareness of
      the technology possibilities will improve and hopefully inspire
      more people to utilize Armenia's impressive engineering and mobile
      development capabilities."

      The First Place winner will be given the opportunity to work with
      Social Objects, a leading mobile app development start-up in Yerevan,
      in order to turn their abstract idea into a unique and important
      contribution to the software sphere and to society as a whole. In
      addition to having a world-class development team build their app,
      part of the $25,000 in-kind grant will go to marketing and taking
      the app to market. Following official OneArmenia policy, a portion
      of profits from the project will be reinvested to help fund another
      key OneArmenia sector --namely its community projects. It's a win-win
      proposition, no matter which way you look at it.

      http://www.tert.am/en/news/2013/10/15/new-armenia/
      Hayastan or Bust.

      Comment


      • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

        ARMENIA TO EXPORT IT SERVICES TO IRAQ: DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

        21:13, 6 November, 2013

        YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 6, ARMENPRESS. The Republic of Armenia may provide
        programming products to Iraq. The Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic
        of Armenia Armen Gevorgyan stated it at the press conference with his
        counterpart of Iraq Nuri Shaways held on November 6. "In addition to
        the finished products, Armenia can export also services to Iraq. In
        particular, I mean the various products in programming. Today we
        have a similar experiment when the Armenian companies deliver such
        services for the Government of Iraq," the Deputy Prime Minister stated
        as reported by Armenpress.

        According to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia
        Armen Gevorgyan the Armenian organizations are interested in the
        participation of the modernization of the energetic powers of Iraq.

        Armen Gevorgyan sees possibilities in delivering construction services
        as well. He pointed out that agricultural and food industry products,
        juice and drinking water, as well as a great quantity of cigarettes
        are exported from Armenia to Iraq. Gevorgyan assures that the variety
        of the exported goods can be expanded including xxxelry, construction
        and other areas.

        http://armenpress.am/eng/news/739146...-minister.html
        Hayastan or Bust.

        Comment


        • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

          Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
          ARMENIA TO EXPORT IT SERVICES TO IRAQ: DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

          21:13, 6 November, 2013

          YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 6, ARMENPRESS. The Republic of Armenia may provide
          programming products to Iraq. The Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic
          of Armenia Armen Gevorgyan stated it at the press conference with his
          counterpart of Iraq Nuri Shaways held on November 6. "In addition to
          the finished products, Armenia can export also services to Iraq. In
          particular, I mean the various products in programming. Today we
          have a similar experiment when the Armenian companies deliver such
          services for the Government of Iraq," the Deputy Prime Minister stated
          as reported by Armenpress.

          According to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia
          Armen Gevorgyan the Armenian organizations are interested in the
          participation of the modernization of the energetic powers of Iraq.

          Armen Gevorgyan sees possibilities in delivering construction services
          as well. He pointed out that agricultural and food industry products,
          juice and drinking water, as well as a great quantity of cigarettes
          are exported from Armenia to Iraq. Gevorgyan assures that the variety
          of the exported goods can be expanded including xxxelry, construction
          and other areas.

          http://armenpress.am/eng/news/739146...-minister.html
          Armenia's IT and overall technology advancement is really a wonderful and surprising step for the country as a whole.
          It would be great though, if we were to also make some strides in manufacturing and other production businesses
          <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>

          Comment


          • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

            Originally posted by Mher View Post
            Armenia's IT and overall technology advancement is really a wonderful and surprising step for the country as a whole.
            It would be great though, if we were to also make some strides in manufacturing and other production businesses
            Need open borders for that.
            Hayastan or Bust.

            Comment


            • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

              The kind of bs in this article is the wests version of carrot and stick. Lori panir, Jermuk mineral water and now potato. This is the kind of bs games the west is playing with Armenia to undermine her economy.

              GEORGIAN EXPERTS BANNED ARMENIAN POTATOES BY MISTAKE - OFFICIAL

              November 08, 2013 | 16:44

              YEREVAN. - Georgian phytosanitary experts banned Armenian potatoes
              by mistake, said representative of the state service on food safety.

              Arthur Nikoyan said representatives of the service had visited Georgia
              and met with the leadership of national food service of the country.

              "It was revealed that the inspectors who carried out phytosanitary
              control, are working for the Committee on State Revenue. Due to low
              level of awareness, the samples with negative results were taken not
              from Armenian cargo," he told reporters on Friday.

              According to the agreement, the Armenian inspectors will be able to
              recheck analyzes of Georgian colleagues in case of discrepancies. A
              joint sampling and analysis will be organized.

              The representative of the state service on food safety said the
              returned potatoes are being sold in Armenia. The potatoes export from
              Armenia to Georgia continues every day, and this year, the export
              will be tripled.

              Georgian phytosanitary experts have recently banned a 500-ton batch
              of potatoes from Armenia.

              News from Armenia - NEWS.am
              Hayastan or Bust.

              Comment


              • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                Iran, Armenia to negotiate on transfer of electricity to Europe

                14:11 09.11.20130
                Armenia, energy, Iran

                Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan has announced Yerevan's
                readiness for completion of underway projects with Iran and signing
                contracts for new ones, but has said that the two sides need to
                negotiate further on transit of Iranian electricity to Europe.

                `The final decision on transferring Iran's electricity to Europe has
                not been made yet and the matter in this respect is in need of further
                bilateral talks,' Movsisyan told the Tasnim News Agency Saturday.

                He said that Armenia is very eager to make use of Iranian technicians'
                expertise and the Iranian technology in completion of power generation
                and transmission facilities of his country.

                The visiting Armenian energy minister had a three hour meeting with
                his Iranian counterpart, Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian, last Tuesday
                on expansion of bilateral cooperation in water and electricity fields.

                Chitchian told reporters after the meeting that given Europe's rising
                demand for electricity, Iran is after exporting electricity to Europe
                through either Armenia, Azerbaijan, or Georgia.

                Movsisyan, too, had said on Tuesday that he was in Tehran for talks on
                increasing gas imports from Iran.

                The Armenian minister had told the Tasnim News Agency that increasing
                gas imports from Iran and development of bilateral relations in the
                energy sector would be the main areas of talks with the Iranian oil
                minister.

                The Armenian energy minister and his Iranian counterpart in their
                Tuesday morning meeting exchanged ideas on power generation and
                connection of regional countries' electricity networks.

                http://www.armradio.am/en/2013/11/09...ity-to-europe/
                Hayastan or Bust.

                Comment


                • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                  ARMENIA IS THE WINNER OF "DISCOVERY OF THE YEAR" AWARD OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER

                  13:00 12.11.2013

                  The results of the online voting of the best travel destination contest
                  organized by the Russian version of the National Geographic Traveler
                  have been finalized earlier this month.

                  As a result, Armenia was recognized as the winner of the "Discovery
                  of the Year" Award, the Armenian National Competitiveness Foundation
                  (NCFA) informs.

                  The importance of the award lies within the context of increasing the
                  awareness of Armenia's historical, cultural and religious heritage
                  on the Russian market as well as boosting inbound tourism flows.

                  Earlier this year, in April, an editorial delegation from the
                  "National Geographic о~A~Aи~O" magazine was hosted in Armenia
                  for a press trip by the invitation of the NCFA. The trip resulted in
                  a series of articles dedicated to Armenia published in the "National
                  Geographic о~A~Aи~O" and the "National Geographic Traveler"
                  magazines and a photo gallery placed on the Nat-Geo.ru website.

                  http://www.armradio.am/en/2013/11/12...phic-traveler/
                  Hayastan or Bust.

                  Comment


                  • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                    AIR ARMENIA OPENS YEREVAN - ST. PETERSBURG FLIGHTS

                    Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
                    Nov 18 2013

                    18 November 2013 - 12:53pm

                    Air Airmenia has opened the Yerevan - St. Petersburg flights on
                    November 16, RIA Novosti reports.

                    The flights will run on Saturdays only. The journey will take 3h 35min.

                    Air Armenia currently transports cargo and passengers to CIS states
                    and Europe. The company was founded in 2003. The Main Directorate
                    of Civil Aviation of Armenia gave Air Armenia a year-long license in
                    July 2013 to begin flights to Moscow, Sochi, Samara, Rostov-on-Don,
                    Krasnodar and St. Petersburg.

                    Air Airmenia has opened the Yerevan - St. Petersburg flights on
                    November 16, RIA Novosti reports.

                    The flights will run on Saturdays only. The journey will take 3h 35min.

                    Air Armenia currently transports cargo and passengers to CIS states
                    and Europe. The company was founded in 2003. The Main Directorate
                    of Civil Aviation of Armenia gave Air Armenia a year-long license in
                    July 2013 to begin flights to Moscow, Sochi, Samara, Rostov-on-Don,
                    Krasnodar and St. Petersburg.
                    Hayastan or Bust.

                    Comment


                    • Re: Armenia's Economic Pulse

                      DECISION ON ARMENIA WILL BE MADE IN VILNIUS AT THE LAST MOMENT

                      The French Ambassador Henri Renault held a press conference and
                      commented on the Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting in Vilnius and the Eastern
                      Partnership Summit in Vilnius.

                      Commenting on the meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan,
                      the ambassador said it is the first meeting after the meeting in Sochi
                      two years ago which encourages the continuation of the talks. Renault
                      announced that the meeting in Vienna opens up new prospects for the
                      continuation of the negotiations and dialogue.

                      As to the Vilnius summit on November 29, Ambassador Renault said
                      there is no certainty whether the EU and Armenia will sign anything
                      in Vilnius, and if yes, what it is going to be. Henri Renault said the
                      issue is under consideration, and a decision may be made in Vilnius.

                      The ambassador expressed hope that the mutual wish to deepen relations
                      will find a manifestation in Vilnius.

                      17:23 21/11/2013 Story from Lragir.am News:
                      http://www.lragir.am/index/eng/0/politics/view/31362
                      Hayastan or Bust.

                      Comment

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