— Exclusive Interview with Hrant Abajyan, the Trade Representative of the Armenian Embassy in China
“I came to China for the first time in 2012 when I was doing my master’s degree in Nanjing. The real China is full of all kinds of different things and is a good place for every kind of person.” When talking about his impression of China, Hrant Abajyan, the Trade Representative of the Armenian Embassy in China, told China’s Foreign Trade: “Our doors are always open to all interested parties and people who want to be a part of Sino-Armenian relations, regardless of their sphere or sector of interest.”“I came to China for the first time in 2012 when I was doing my master’s degree in Nanjing. The real China is full of all kinds of different things and is a good place for every kind of person.” When talking about his impression of China, Hrant Abajyan, the Trade Representative of the Armenian Embassy in China, told China’s Foreign Trade: “Our doors are always open to all interested parties and people who want to be a part of Sino-Armenian relations, regardless of their sphere or sector of interest.”
Steady growth of bilateral trade
The bilateral trade between China and Armenia has been experiencing a steady growth of around roughly 30% this year compared to the previous year. “The main products of export from Armenia to China are natural resources like copper and gold ores, precious and semiprecious stones, wines, brandy and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. There are unfortunately still not many Chinese FDIs in Armenia. There are a few Chinese companies which stay busy in the mining and IT sectors,” said Hrant Abajyan.
The government of Armenia has recently developed around 50 investment projects for various fields of the economy, such as infrastructure, renewable energy, mining of natural resources, agriculture, tourism and other sectors as well, for “presenting the most attractive investment opportunities in our country”. Hrant Abajyan explained that the Republic of Armenia is implementing an “open-door” policy towards foreign investments. “Armenia is carrying out deep and comprehensive reforms on the investment environment to provide favorable opportunities for foreign investors. We provide guarantees for investors and protection of foreign investment, as well as a number of privileges. Chinese investors and businesses are always welcome in Armenia. We are always open and ready for discussions on every issue in every sector of the economy,” he said.
When talking about how to do business more effectively in Armenia, Hrant Abajyan suggested that “the most effective and least risky way of starting a business relationship or doing investments in Armenia is with the support of the Embassy of Armenia to China in Beijing and the Embassy of China to Armenia in Yerevan”.
Belt & Road Initiative plays a very important role
Hrant Abajyan told China’s Foreign Trade that the Government of the Republic of Armenia pays the utmost attention to the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. “It is not just a business project for Armenia. We are deeply convinced that this project will play a very important role in the development of the relations between and among the countries and states participating in it. We are not only concentrated with the growth of the economic relations with China and the countries along the Belt and Road, but also with the cultivation and further development of culture, tourism and, more importantly, people-to-people relations. Armenia has expressed its support for the Belt and Road Initiative from the very beginning. We are deeply convinced that Armenia can and must be an integral and indivisible part of this initiative, just as it has been a part of the Ancient Great Silk Road of China.”
Hrant Abajyan added, “Armenia is a country with huge transit potential for the region, and is a potential part of the Silk Road connecting east to west and south to north. It has the opportunity to act as a regional transit hub for transport, freight and communications.”
Under the Belt and Road Initiative, there are a series of cooperation projects which have been carried out smoothly between China and Armenia. “One of the biggest examples of Belt and Road projects in Armenia is the North-South Road Corridor. This enables the country to become an important supply corridor on the Silk Road leading to Europe. The North-South Road Corridor, together with the Southern Armenia Railway, are the key elements missing from the north-south transport corridor. They will create a strong bridge for improving trade and passenger travel between Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Another thing that I find important to mention is a direct flight connecting Armenia and China. It is one of the crucial points for the development of any bilateral relations. Recently, an agreement regarding this matter has been signed between the respective civil aviation organizations of the two countries, and we are looking forward to upcoming positive developments on this matter,” said Hrant Abaiyan.