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The State Committee for Protection of Economic Competition is the only structure that can give exact comments on Carrefour's problem in Armenia, Gagik Arzumanyan, Director of the Armenian Copper Programme (part of Vallex Group), said at the meeting of the Committee leadership and representatives of the Armenian American Chamber of Commerce on March 19.
Arzumanyan recalled that the world known chain of hypermarkets Carrefour faced problems with entering the Armenian market.
"It would be good if the Committee conducted an impartial survey of the problem and informed the public of the results of its survey, because, Carrefour is an important foreign investor. One can get impression from Mass Media reports that there are competition problems," the businessman explained.
Head of the State Committee for Protection of Economic Competition Artak Shaboyan said, in turn, that Carrefour representatives have not applied to the Committee yet. "The Committee is ready to study the problem thoroughly and announce its position on it in case of a relevant application," he said.
Arzumanyan argued that the Committee often initiates surveys and this time can also do it, especially that the problem is in the focus of attention of the public and foreign investors. The businessman advised the Committee to learn practice of the Prosecutor's Office that initiates criminal cases on the basis of media reports. Shaboyan demanded facts and data on Carrefour's problem from those present at the meeting. Talking to media, he said that the Committee is ready to study Carreofur's problem if there are 'sufficient facts, information and proofs.' He invited the Carrefour representatives to apply to the Committee for discussion of the obstacles it has faced when trying to enter the local market. In response to ArmInfo's question, Shaboyan said that the Committee will initiate only if the Carrefour representative submit additional information.
The first supermarket of the French retailer was to open at Dalma Garden Mall yet in the autumn of 2012. Minister of Economy Tigran Davtyan informed media that there was a relevant contract with Carrefour. The minister, as well as prime minister and many other officials of the economic sector have repeatedly come out for the necessity of the French investor's entry in the Armenian market.
To note, by ArmInfo's data, Majid Al Futtaim Holding (U.A.E.), the Carrefour franchise holder, started to consider its possible entry into Armenian market a couple of years ago. Observers think that the opening of Carrefour in Armenia could have had a strong impact on the competitive environment in the sphere of organized retail trade, which is actually divided into 2 large networks owned by oligarch parliamentarians.