Possible Ways to Further Development Armenian-American Economic Relations

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By Paruir Sarkisian

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

Armenian-American trade relations have gone through various stages of natural development. Further development of trade and economic ties between the two countries as well as implementation and expansion of investment programs can be vital for strengthening the security of the Republic of Armenia. Strengthening the economic ties between the two countries will significantly impact the improvement of Armenia’s economic situation. In fact, its success will allow Armenia to become one of the freest economies in the region.

The current economic relationship between the United States and Armenia needs expansion and multifaceted development. All the necessary prerequisites for this to happen are in place.

According to the website of Trading Economics, trade between Armenia and the United States in 2022 increased by 124%, reaching $465 million. This increase resulted from American imports increasing over 300%. During that same period, the export of Armenian products to the United States decreased by 4.4%, totaling only $77.4 million.

The goods exported to the USA in 2022 included canned goods, jams and fruit preserves – produced by nearly fifteen partner companies, which totaled $4.55 million. At the same time, exported beverages, including alcoholic spirits, totaled just over $13 million.

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Applying these trends to the consumer potential within the Armenian-American community, we arrive at important discoveries. The above sales figures show that individual purchases by the Armenians within the United States, for canned goods, jams and other packaged goods, averaged $0.37 per month.  The corresponding figure for wines and cognac averaged $1.08.

It is intriguing that over the years the nature of imported products has remained the same:  canned vegetables, jams, dried fruits, wine, cognac, and certain quantities of aluminum foil, diamonds, and clothing.

These products, of course, play a positive role in the overall export picture. However, given the seasonal nature of most of these products, they cannot be considered the main items which could further develop economic relations between the two countries.

Today, Armenia should take advantage of the favorable opportunities provided by the United States that will help develop enlarged and deep trade and economic relations between the two countries.

The list of goods exported to the US from Armenia is short. During 2022, approximately $2.34 million worth of copper and $1.76 million of aluminum products have been imported by the United States. Other products, mostly in small quantities, have also been exported to the US. However, these cannot play a significant role in the development of relations between the two countries.

The production and export of industrial goods to the international market is extremely important for any country.  Therefore, this should be a goal of urgency and importance for Armenia.

The United State makes bulk purchases of a wide range of products – industrial goods, semi-finished products, components and various raw materials – from many different countries. Armenia has a long way to go to participate in such activities.

Currently, Armenia has various businesses with strong manufacturing abilities – the result of necessary upgrading and coordination. This potential can supply the US market with diverse ingredients and semi-finished products for the manufacturers of automotive and agricultural machinery as well as for makers of high-quality plastic items and cables, and for the housing and renovation markets.

Expanding large-scale economic cooperation with any country takes years. Such partnerships should be started as a country’s economy diversifies and becomes increasingly secure. As economic relations become expanded and more diverse, connections become stronger and create a foundation for long-term stability and prosperity.

In the Armenian-American community, there are many highly-educated professionals with international experience who could advise on economic issues. I think that it would be expedient to form a group of knowledgeable professionals who could organized meetings and create practical programs towards establishing direct links to producers in Armenia.

The range of such an expert consulting group could be vast:

1) Establish horizontal business relations, including specific states, and assist with building relationships with state chambers of commerce;

2) Exert efforts to create direct working relationship between small- and medium-sized businesses and provide support for Armenian participation in profile exhibitions held in the USA;

3) Carry out activities that establish cooperation with US companies while lobbying to facilitate the import of Armenian products;

4) Take a more assertive stance toward this culture … and utilize it as the foundation of a strong Armenian-US economic relationship.

These efforts will undoubtedly contribute to the recognition of Armenian products in the international market and will establish important and urgent business ties.

Dear readers, by writing this article, my intention has been to stimulate discussion on the overall state of economic relations between the US and Armenia and to foster wider collaborations. I would be grateful to receive suggestions and proposed approaches that might contribute to the growth of the Armenian-US economic partnership. Please feel free to send your proposals and offers for further consideration and discussion to my email address, paruirsarkisian@gmail.com.

Pariur Sarkisian

(Paruir Sarkisian is Senior Consulate Advisor to the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia in Chicago and Co-owner of Armenia Group International Company, Chicago)

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