Shavarsh Kocharyan: Murder of Karen Petrosyan has many similarities with the cruel murder of American journalist in Syria

Ivan Kuhta: Difference of our political orientation will not affect Ukrainian-Armenian relations

Armenian President: Armenian-Georgian relations are on all-time high level

Special offer for Orange Internet subscribers

Armenia's Defense Ministry Spokesperson denies Azerbaijan's reports on exchange of captives

Russian political expert is skeptical of Azeri-Turkish-Georgian plan to form a military alliance

Armenian Government to cut its passenger traffic subsidies to South Caucasus Railway

Armenia and Georgia to build a bridge of friendship between Bagratashen and Sadakhlo

Armenia to build a farm to breed Sevan trout

Georgia conducts active measures to eliminate consequences of landslide on Georgian Military Highway

The Prime Minister of Georgia was presented the 40-Year Old Armenian Brandy

Prime Minister of Georgia arrives in Yerevan

Natali Pharm Company to be licensed to import narcotic and psychotropic substances to Armenia

Sports and Concerts Facility after K. Demirchyan to be signed off to Defense Ministry of Armenia for debts

Azerbaijan breached ceasefire on the Line of Contact nearly 40 times over the last two days

Ruben Melkonyan: It is too early to speak about Ankara-Tbilisi-Baku axis

Aziz Tamoyan: 200 Yezidi families from Iraq will settle in Artsakh

Hovik Abrahamyan calls for taking his statements the right way

Beeline offers Let's Talk service to corporate customers

VTB Bank (Armenia) starts providing "diamond" lombard loans

Developing military cooperation among Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan is not dangerous for Armenia: Armenian Deputy DM

Armenian man who fired at Turkish Embassy emblem in Russia to wait for court verdict under arrest

Orange begins “Smartphonization of Armenia”: bring your old phone and get a new smartphone at half price

U.S. Ambassador to Armenia addresses parties to Karabakh conflict in Armenian

Economist: Vorotan Cascade of HPPs must remain under state management

NKR Defense Army Commander: Baku blackmailing OSCE Minsk Group

Investigation Committee: Karen Petrosyan might be abducted from Armenia's territory

Manvel Grigoryan: In case of war in Artsakh, the boys of oligarchs and statesmen will also be fighting

No single Iraqi Yazidi has so far applied to Armenia for refuge

VTB Bank (Armenia) prolongs working time at some of its branches

Beeline grants its customers 1,000 intra-network minutes or 1,000MW Internet traffic on their birthdays

Paruyr Hayrikian to embark on hunger strike on 8 September

Aziz Tamoyan: Yazidis are killed on the same scenario as Armenians in 1915

Hovik Abrahamyan: I cannot wave a magic wand to bring everyone out of the shadow

Nikol Pashinyan urges Parliament to provide privileges to residents of near border Armenian communities

Roman Pope to serve liturgy timed to Armenian Genocide centennial

Washington refuses to sell Cougar military vehicles to Baku


Ivan Kuhta: Difference of our political orientation will not affect Ukrainian-Armenian relations

Zardusht Alizadeh: Arriving in Sochi, Aliyev and Sargsyan once again demonstrated the world that Russia is still the demiurge in the Caucasus

Masis Mailyan: Unlike Azerbaijan, global centers of force are not interested in growing tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone

Sergey Grinyayev:The West’s sanctions are extremely positive for the Eurasian Union project

Alexey Kolomiyets: West's sanction will hardly sober Putin and the Kremlin

Hrant Bagratyan: Sanctions will have tangible impact on Armenia

Georgi Kolarov: The second Nagorno-Karabakh war is inevitable

Artashes Shaboyan: Reduction in consumer demand has a negative effect on supermarkets

Tigran Davtyan: If you have a telephone with you, it means that you have a wallet with you too

Shmuel Meirom: Israel is willing to contribute of its experience in the field of economy, but it cannot force Israeli business to invest in Armenia

Marine Karapetyan: Ameriabank on large business: problems and solutions

Eduard Sharmazanov: The opposition camp has no leader to steer the people

Alexander Zinker: Readiness of the Kremlin to protect its “Big Russian world” is dangerous for Russia itself

Vahe Davtyan: lternative power engineering should be developed regardless of fluctuations in electric power tariffs

Alexander Krylov: Taking into consideration the experience of the EU, Russia has to refuse maximal extension of the Eurasian Economic Union

Rasim Musabekov: Not only global but also the regional geo-political balance is changing

Zardusht Alizade: Apart, Armenia and Azerbaijan will always remain non-democratic fascist states

Robert Kocharyan: I do not share the Armenian leadership's optimism over Customs Union membership

  • by Tatevik Shahunyan

  • Monday, February 24, 16:37

To assess the expediency of Armenia's accession to the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, it is necessary to conduct a comparative analysis of the approaches to the customs policy implemented in Russia and Armenia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, second president of Armenia Robetr Kocharyan said in an interview with 

"Russia has inherited USSR's powerful industrial potential covering nearly all the sectors of economy with a strong emphasis on the military-industrial field.

However, that potential has not been integrated with the global economy and was mostly concentrated in the domestic market and the post-Soviet countries. In the Soviet Union, export of oil and gas made up 65% of total exports. To protect its industry from more competitive imports, Russia used to apply high customs duties, while domestic market was big enough to keep its industry function. Imposing export taxes on energy resources and export quotas, the government ensured low domestic tariffs, which supported the relative competitive ability of Russia's economy. This allowed Russia to avoid economic collapse, something that happened in Armenia in early 90s. Now, accessing the WTO, Russia is gradually revising foreign trade rules for full integration into the global economy. This will lead to some short-term problems, but the country will sure benefit from it in the long- term outlook," Kocharyan said.

Further, in the interview, the second president analyses the situation in Armenia: "We have inherited the industrial potential oriented at the Soviet market which no longer existed by that time. Domestic market was miserable for that industry. Having neither common border not railway communication with Russia, Armenia made vein efforts to restore its erstwhile cooperation. Some economy sectors in Russia were also in poor state in mid-90s. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia began to export the significant part of industry losing its traditional sales market and partners. Inherently, it was senseless protecting many industrial sectors, except agriculture and processing, with customs duties.  Protectionism could be expressed with application of instruments quite different from customs barriers. 

Furthermore, Armenia was in blockade that increased the transportation costs of nearly all products.  Therefore, the Government of Armenia launched foreign trade liberalization in the mid-90s and Armenia joined WTO in 2003 to speed up the process of full integration into the world economy.  Actually, Russia and Armenia have been implementing different approaches to the customs policy because of some objective circumstances and their economic realities. And the customs codes of our countries were based on those very approaches. Considering that the Customs Union's approaches are based on Russia's Customs Code, a question arises as to whether Armenia will manage to reverse its approaches painlessly and what tasks of its economy the country is settling by higher customs charges. Kocharyan said.

Robert Kocharyan said he does not share the Armenian leadership's optimism over accession to the CU, as economy is sluggish and abrupt turnabouts are counter indicated. "People have built their business on effective rules for years, and they need to time for changeover. Obviously, some businesses will improve their positions, while some others will experience decline and even collapse. A deep and open CU market analysis on all groups of products is needed to foresee possible consequences," he said.  The second president said that the EU will probably revise the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP+) for Armenia, as EU ambassadors hint at that. Some problems will probably emerge also with the WTO and the coordinated customs duties. "This will lead to response measures regarding our products. How will this influence Armenia's economy and its long-term investment attractiveness is hard to assess," Kocharyan said. 
The growing tariffs of import from the countries outside the CU are another problem, he said. Considering that such goods dominate in the consumer market and the level of trade balance deficit we have in Armenia, this import is rather large-scale. The formula is simple: the higher are customs fees, the higher is the product price in the market. There is a third option: replacement of such goods with similar ones from the CU countries, if there are such.    

For instance, meat and dairy products from Belarus may become cheaper in Armenia and our wine and brandy may become cheaper in Belarus. Time will show if our cattle breeding industry can stand such competition.  Household equipment, devices and cars imported from other countries will rise in price, unless there are relevant exceptions. Everything can be assessed and forecasted and the people must be informed of these assessments and calculations. We can prevent price hikes only by introduction of a long list of exceptions and synchronize it with gradual reduction of customs duties, which is part of Russia's commitments to the WTO.  All this depends on the results of the negotiations with the CU countries that will also make their own requirements. This is a very hard process of accommodation of interests and any hasty step may result in undesirable consequences," Kocharyan explained.  He stressed that he consciously avoid making any assessments of the damage the CU accession process has caused to Armenia's image and the EU's concerns over it.

"Nothing can be changed now. We should not have started the process of the Association with the EU in a company with the GUAM countries and with such obtrusive PR. It gave the process excessive geopolitical coloring. Russia's nature was quite predictable. Anyway, we are where we are. I'd like the country to access the CU calmly with minimum geopolitics and with maximum consideration of long-term interests of Armenia's economy. Any miscalculations will affect all the residents of Armenia," the second president said for conclusion. 

Send to a friend

To (e-mail)

Your name



View comments (0)

Be first to comment on this article

* Indicates required fields