by Karina Manukyan
Germany's market should be of special importance to Armenia, because the SMEs are the key driver of the country's economy, German Ambassador to Armenia Reiner Morell said at a workshop on trade financing on Monday. The workshop was organized by HSBC Bank Armenia.
The Ambassador pointed out that small and medium-sized entrepreneurship does not develop in Armenia because of oligarchy's prevalence in the local business. To cause the European company's interest in the Armenian market, Armenia should combat the economy monopolism and enhance the SMEs' role, he said.
He also stressed that Armenia's forthcoming accession to the Customs Union may hinder Armenia's economic relations with the European Union due to the differences between these economic structures' legislations. But notwithstanding this, Armenia should be competitive and innovative in the international arena, Reiner Morell said. He added that the German Embassy will contribute to SME development in Armenia in every possible way.
According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, in 2013 Armenia's foreign trade with Germany totaled nearly $370 mln, having undergone almost no changes as compared with 2012. The unprofitable balance of trade grew by 21.3% to $195 mln. Exports from Armenia made up $85.6 mln, and imports to Armenia totaled $280.6 mln. In 2013 the commodity turnover with the EU amounted to $1.657 bln or 27.8% of total foreign trade (up 1.1% versus 2012). The unfavorable balance of trade amounted to $668.6 mln (down 8.8% versus 2012). Exports from Armenia to EU made up $494.3 mln, and imports from the EU to Armenia amounted to $1.163 bln.
To recall, Armenia was going to initial the AA/DCFTA at the Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2013. However, on 3 September 2013, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan announced Armenia's intention to join the Customs Union.