After the April war in the conflict zone of Nagorno Karabakh the idea of banning the import of goods from Turkey was circulated by a group of civil activists who immediately received a response from the National Assembly. On April 28 during Q&A with the Government Member of NA “Rule of Law” Faction Levon Dokholyan proposed to ban the import of the Turkish goods, direct flights to Turkey, also the organization of recreation of the Armenians as Turkey has an underlined pro-Azerbaijani position, rejects Armenian Genocide and keeps the Armenian-Turkish border closed.
RA Minister of Economy Artsvik Minasyan responded that the Government will study the situation and give a concrete reply. “We ourselves will organise a discussion and find solutions. It is obvious that if the imported goods from a third country damage our economy, especially agriculture, concrete actions should be conducted,” the Minister said and added that it is necessary to establish such rules that they were in line with both the commitments to the World Trade Organization and the Statute of Economic Union of Eurasia (EUEA) and RA Legislation.
Despite the lack of land communication between Armenia and Turkey, there is a large-scale trade turnover thanks to the air road or through Georgia. The trade turnover between Armenia and Turkey comprised 138,5mln USD in 2015. It is 2, 9 percent of the total foreign trade of Armenia. The trade turnover between Armenia and Turkey comprised 233,7mln USD in 2014 which was 3, 9percent of the total foreign trade. So, the portion of Turkey has reduced by 1 percent in the total foreign trade.
Head of “Alternative” research center, economist Tatul Manaseryan is in favor of the ban on imports of goods from Turkey for two reasons. These are the food security of RA population and the desire not to make Turkey richer. “Buying Turkish products, we contribute to the development of the Turkish military- industrial complex. This is unacceptable in such a situation. But before the fulfillment of the ban, a complex of activities are necessary to replace the Turkish goods and find alternatives, to develop the local product”, he said and added that it is necessary to check the quality of the Turkish food imported to Armenia illegally as there are food, economic and national security issues.
Economists Tatul Manaseryan, Vahagn Khachatyan and Ashot Khurshudyan participated in the discussion on “What Consequences will the Possible Limitation of Importing Goods from Turkey to Armenia Have?” at Media Center on May 3.
Vahagn Khachatryan and Ashot Khurshudyan consider discussing the issue of possible limitation of Importing Goods from Turkey to be artificial.
“The Armenian traders and businessmen found the Turkish market. The state had no participation. If there were alternatives to many goods, they would be imported from Russia, other states of EUEA or China. If it is not organized, it means the Turkish goods are more competitive,” Vahagn Khachatryan said and added that according to the businessmen it is beneficial to import from Turkey. “As there is lack of alternatives, the ban of importing goods can foster the monopolization of the economy as the restriction of supply paths always leads to similar consequences,” Khachatryan said.
From the economic perspectives no limitations are necessary. “But if there are security issues and serious concerns, I am ready to listen to them. On the other hand, a consumer is also responsible for the security issue and he should have a choice,” Khachatryan said and hoped that a decision to ban will not be made as there is no economic calculation.
The decision to ban the import of goods contains not economic but political and emotional elements. Ashot Khurshudyan said and added that instead of the prohibition of import, steps should be taken for internal security and a struggle should be made against smuggling. “There is a smuggling issue which is a priority. We should speak about the issues of internal regulation and not the limitation of import. It is obvious that there are Turkish goods that are really cheap,” he said.
The economist thinks that before taking such a step it should be taken into account that the army of the unemployed will increase and the social tension will arise. “Those who trade with Turkey are hard adopting class because they are doing the same thing for 20 years. They would not know what to do. It will make a significant social problem,” the economist said.
Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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