Nikol Pashinyan

Pashinyan Backs Closer Economic ‘Integration’ With Russia

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MOSCOW (RFE/RL) — Armenia is committed to further deepening commercial ties with Russia, its main ally and trading partner, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Tuesday, October 19.

“The Russian Federation not only plays a key role in maintaining peace and stability in our region but also occupies a central place in our country’s economy,” Pashinyan said in an address to a Russian-Armenian interregional conference held in Yerevan.

“We need to improve our economic relations in a way that will foster the development of competitive industries in our countries,” he told government officials and businesspeople from the two states attending the forum. “In this context, we regard as important further mutual integration of our economies, which must be based on a free movement of goods, services, labor and capital. The [Russian-led] Eurasian Economic Union serves this strategic goal. “

Bilateral commercial ties should be diversified to cover knowledge-based sectors of the Russian and Armenian economies, added Pashinyan.

According to Armenian government data, Russian-Armenian trade rose by almost 12 percent in the first eight months of this year, to $ 1.54 billion, after shrinking by 4 percent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Russia thus remained Armenia’s number one trading partner, accounting for about 31 percent of its overall foreign trade, compared to the European Union’s 20.2 percent share in the total.

Russian Deputy Minister for Economic Development Dmitry Volvach hailed the renewed growth in bilateral trade when he spoke with journalists during the Yerevan forum.

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Russian companies plan to invest $ 1 billion in the Armenian economy “in the near future,” the Armenpress news agency quoted Volvach as saying. He said the investments will be channeled into energy, transport and other infrastructures.

Speaking at a recent Russian-Armenian business forum in Yerevan, Russian-Armenian billionaire Samvel Karapetyan said his Moscow-based Tashir Group will invest up to $600 million in the Armenian energy sector in the coming years.

Tashir owns Armenia’s electricity distribution network, largest thermal-power plant and second most important hydroelectric complex.

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