Swiss Ambassador to Armenia Lukas Gasser: Switzerland will try to contribute to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without questioning the established formats such as the OSCE Minsk process
by Gayane Isahakyan
The 1st Armjenian- Argentinean business forum kicked off in Yerevan on Thursday to expectedly help Armenian and Argentinean businessmen to establish partner relations and to find new ways of cooperation.
In his welcoming address Ambassador of Argentina to Armenia Diego Alvarez Rivera said that the forum is expected to become an effective platform for partnership and a stimulus for even more active trade- economic ties.
Armenia's Deputy Economy Minister Garegin Melkonyan said though being far away from Armenia, Argentina is one of its biggest investors, with almost $46mln invested in the Armenian economy this year (mostly in aviation and agriculture).
Melkonyan mentioned Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentinean businessman of Armenian origin, who owns Corporacion America, the owner of Armenian International Airports CJSC. He said that since June 2002 that company has operated Yerevan's Zvartnots Airport on the basis of a 30-year concession agreement signed with the Armenian Government in 2001.
Among the forum's guests is also Carlos Alvarez from Kalpakian, an Armenian carpet producer. He came to Armenia to establish contacts with local textile producers. Set up in Budapest in 1922, Kalpakian moved to Buenos Aires. The company employs 18 Armenians and has partners in 30 countries.
An Argentinean mission representing different business sectors has come to Yerevan to take part in the forum. The mission is led by Argentina's Foreign Trade Secretary Beatriz Paglieri.
Attending the forum are representatives from 25 companies acting in pharmaceutics, biotechnologies, health care, tourism, textile, mining, food, machine building, cosmetics, electronics, industrial architecture and other fields.
According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, in Jan-June 2013 Argentina was among the five biggest creditors of Armenia. As compared with Jan-June 2012 the country's investments in the Armenian economy grew by 10.4 times to $76.2mln or 30% of all investments. Direct investments grew by 67.2% to $8.3mln. 95% of the money or $72.3mln (13 times as much as a year before) was spent on air transport, more specifically, on projects to modernize Armenian airports. The rest was invested in construction and in Tierras de Armenia, a wine factory owned by Eduardo Eurnekian. In 2012 Argentina invested almost $54.5mln in the Armenian economy or 7% of all investments. That was 3 times as much as in 2011. Direct investments made up $51.3mln (6 times as much as a year before)