Bilateral Cooperation & International Relations


Armenia interested in cooperation with Belarus in IT, woodworking
/Nov 12/Belarus News (BelTA)/

MINSK – Armenia is interested in advancing cooperation with Belarus along several avenues, in particular, the implementation of joint projects in the spheres of education, information technologies, and woodworking. The statement was made by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia to Belarus Armen Ghevondyan as he met with Belarusian Forestry Minister, co-chairman of the Belarusian-Armenian intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation Vitaly Drozhzha, the ministry’s press service told BelTA.

The ambassador said: “We should also think about the advancement of decentralized cooperation. Our regions have signed rather many agreements. We expect the regions to put forth initiatives.”

The ambassador also mentioned how Belarusian pines had taken root on the shore of the famous Lake Sevan. A forest of Belarusian-Armenian friendship was planted in spring 2018. “Our specialists have analyzed the survival rate of the saplings: it is about 80%. It is a very good result for Armenia. This is why today we are also interested in using your saplings,” he remarked.

Vitaly Drozhzha pointed out that in the last few years Belarus and Armenia have considerably increased the volume of trade and economic cooperation, however, significant potential has yet to be explored. In 2017 Belarus-Armenia trade rose by nearly 33% to over $42.5 million. “It is a good pace. Today instead of simply preserving it we have to increase it,” he stressed.

Today the legal base of Belarusian-Armenian relations includes about 80 interstate, intergovernmental, and interagency agreements.

Caretaker Minister of Transportation, Communication and Information Technologies receives China’s Ambassador to Armenia
/Nov 12 /A1+/

Caretaker Minister of Transportation, Communication and Information Technologies Hakob Arshakyan has held a meeting with China’s Ambassador to Armenia Tian Erlong, the ministry said.

During the meeting Arshakyan spoke highly about the cooperation in road construction, IT and telecommunication that has developed between the two countries.

The caretaker minister addressed the construction of the North-South Road Corridor’s Tranche 3, which is carried out by China’s Sinohydro Corporation.

Arshakyan noted that certain problems have appeared in this portion of the road but that positive movement is observed in the recent period.

Speaking about revising the timeframe of the project, Arshakyan noted that first of all it is necessary to involve new capacities, increase accountability in the work, and if after all efforts it won’t be possible to maintain the deadline, then extending the deadline in a reasonable way will be discussed.

The Chinese ambassador said he is always ready to assist in establishing mutual understanding in working relations.

On behalf of the Chinese side, the ambassador expressed interest over being involved in the project’s Tranche 4- be it construction carried out by a Chinese company or financial participation under favorable loan conditions. He said that the Chinese side is open for cooperation in any format.

The sides also exchanged ideas over direct air communication. The ambassador emphasized that the possibility of establishing direct air communication can be discussed when for example the passenger flow will significantly increase.

Arshakyan’s deputy Bagrat Badalyan presented the Armenian participation’s framework at the upcoming November 20 Pilot Project Expert Group meeting on Financing in Brussels. The Tranche 4 project is planned to be presented at the event.

The Chinese ambassador highlighted Armenia’s role as a mediator country for establishing China-EEU economic ties.

Ambassador Erlong noted that cooperation in the IT sector is also very promising and that great untapped opportunities exist.

Arshakyan in turn suggested creating an arena where IT businessmen from Armenia and China will meet to get acquainted and establish business ties.

The ambassador said that every autumn an expo is organized in Shenzhen, and that the venue might be considered as the kind of arena that the caretaker minister was talking about. Erlong attached importance to not only business ties, but also academic relations, cooperation of Armenian and Chinese scientists.

ADB approves $50 million loan Enhance Financial Markets in Armenia 
/Nov 15/Public Radio of Armenia/

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $50 million policy-based loan as part of an ongoing program of financial reforms to strengthen public debt and fiscal risk management and develop financial markets in Armenia.

The second subprogram of the Public Efficiency and Financial Markets Program supports the Government of Armenia’s efforts to consolidate fiscal reforms, reduce financial risks in the economy, provide a sustainable framework for financial markets development, and usher in a more conducive environment for private sector involvement in infrastructure development. ADB provided $40 million in October 2017 to the first subprogram.

“ADB is committed to helping the Government of Armenia improve its economic growth and financial stability outlook through policy and technical assistance,” said ADB Senior Financial Sector Economist Mr. João Farinha-Fernandes. “The reforms that enabled the approval of this $50 million policy-based loan will continue the efforts laid out in the first subprogram.”

While financial institutions in Armenia have improved their contribution to the country’s economy over the years, financial markets remain nascent. This limits the development of the private sector in the country, which is vital for Armenia’s growth and development. This situation is also affecting public finance, fiscal management, as well as macroeconomic and financial stability in the country—factors that are crucial in improving investment levels in Armenia, which has declined to 18% in 2017 from about 40% of gross domestic product before 2009.

Through various policy reforms, the Public Efficiency and Financial Markets Program is aimed at strengthening Armenia’s public debt and fiscal risk management through capacity building of various agencies including the Public Debt and Management Department as well as the Ministry of Finance. It also aims to improve the government’s securities market and money-market infrastructure, while broadening the range of financial instruments available to attract more private investments in the country. The second subprogram continued these reform efforts.

If the reforms are sustained, more developed financial markets will help Armenia in various ways, including supporting government funding in the domestic market; developing local capital markets; providing suitable instruments to authorities to deal with macroeconomic shocks and risks to financial stability; and improving the efficiency of capital allocation and intermediation in the country.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB Operations totales $32.2 billions, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

EBRD representative to Armenia official: You can rely on us EBRD representative to Armenia official: You can rely on us
/Nov 16/

The acting Minister of Economic Development and Investments, Tigran Khachatryan, received Dimitri Gvindadze, head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Resident Office in Armenia.

Khachatryan noted that solutions were found, together with the EBRD, to several matters regarding the improvement of Armenia’s business and investment climate.

Gvindadze, for his part, stressed that the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments of Armenia was a key partner of the EBRD. Also, the head of the latter’s resident office in the country presented to the acting minister the main directions of the bank’s activities, and the economic domains which its resources are channeled to.

Subsequently, the interlocutors discussed the ongoing activities around the law package on partnership between the state and the private sector.

Also, head of the EBRD Resident Office in Armenia assured that the ministry can rely on the bank, with respect to its initiatives which will be aimed at improvement of the business climate in the country.

American State Department, Treasury delegation visits Armenia for Iran sanctions policy discussions
/Nov 16/

YEREVAN – Experts from the US State Department and Treasury visited Yerevan, Armenia November 15-16 to examine the policy of sanctions against Iran together with Armenian government and business representatives, the US embassy in Armenia said in a statement.

It said that “through similar visits the American policy in terms of the sanctions against Iran are specified and clarified for different countries of the world”.

According to the statement, the American delegation had meetings with the caretaker ministers of foreign affairs, energy, economic development and investments, as well as officials from the government staff, the foreign ministry, the ministry of economic development and the ministry of transportation, the central bank vice-president, analysts, representatives of private banks that are members of the Armenian-American Chamber of Commerce, and others.