On January 12, the first session of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Armenia was held in the present and remote unified mode. The subject of the discussion was the summary of what has been done and fixing the priority issues for the current year.
Martin Sargsyan, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA, referring to the multifaceted challenges of 2023, emphasized that the main tasks of the Chamber in the near future are related to the stabilization of the situation in the economic sphere, supporting the concerns of the Artsakh Armenians as much as possible, supporting exports and current business problems.
Among other issues, Mr. Sargsyan specifically mentioned: "Today, science has become the most important factor in developing the economy and in particular business, expanding the geography of exports, creating new markets abroad and strengthening the country, which is the truest way to open new paths for our businessmen. Today science solves all problems. An important note on that topic: many people write that the main factors of strengthening the country are the army, education and health care: soldiers, teachers, doctors. I think that for the sake of the moral image and reputation of the Armenian businessman as a protector of the country, creator of good and charity, business should be added, but science should be placed at the very beginning. It is natural that without the development of science, none of these fields can fully take place, therefore it is necessary to prioritize and properly publicize the factor of science in line with the times. Let's not forget that the Archimedean fulcrum of development is science..."
As the main issue on the agenda, Andranik Aleksanyan, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA, presented the achievements of the past year in detail, while emphasizing the priorities of the current year arising from the situation.
Vladimir Amiryan, the operational director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA clarified the procedure for issuing "ATA Carnet" temporary import certificates, justifying the preferred option for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA.
On December 12, the 21st session of the Council of Heads of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Commonwealth of Independent States member states was held remotely, which was attended by the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA Martin Sargsyan and Vice President Karen Ivanov.
Since in 2022, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Armenia presided over the Council of the Heads of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the CIS Member States, so the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Armenia Martin Sargsyan made a general speech, who presented his observations and recommendations on agenda items. He particularly emphasized the creation of a unified website, which will be able to present itself more effectively and cooperatively in both domestic and foreign markets. Many issues related to export, development of small and medium enterprises, deepening of business ties, innovation support, development of cluster and cooperation ties were discussed.
Within the framework of the continuation of the 2019 projects and the agreement signed with the Women Entrepreneurs Association of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on November 5-9, 2023, under the leadership of Lilia Gevorgyan, Advisor to the President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Armenia, President of the Business Women Support Foundation of Armenia, a business visit of entrepreneurs took place to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kish Island. The visit was organized at the invitation of Mr. Rahim Sarhangi, General Director of the Kish Island Free Economic Zone.
During the visit, the 10th annual multi-disciplinary international exhibition "Kish Invex 2023" was held. The delegation included more than ten entrepreneurs from Armenia and Russia, who were interested in establishing direct contacts and opening joint ventures within the framework of the Kish Island Free Economic Zone programs. As a result of meetings and negotiations, an agreement was reached to implement a number of projects in Armenia and Iran for 2024.
During the visit, an agreement was signed between the Armenian Business Women Support Foundation under the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Armenia and Kish International University (Tehran branch) on implementing short-term training programs for women entrepreneurs in Armenia and Iran.
On September 18, an Armenia-UAE business forum was held, within the framework of which memorandums of understanding were signed between the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the UAE, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Armenia and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the UAE.
Andranik Aleksanyan, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA, made a speech, emphasizing his great willingness to always be next to and support business.
Then the investment B2B session took place, during which the investment projects of Armenian companies were presented to UAE investors. The session was followed by B2B meetings on export and trade, during which major UAE organizations, as well as Armenian exporters and importers, were presented.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Arab Emirates to Armenia Dr. Nariman Mohammed Sharif Abdullah Almullan was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA on a working visit on September 12.
Congratulating the newly appointed ambassador, the President of the Chamber, Martin Sargsyan, wished him fruitful work during his term of office, for the benefit of the development of Armenian-Arab friendly and economic relations.
According to official statistics, as of September 2022, the trade turnover between the two countries was estimated at 317 million dollars.It is a positive indicator that the export from Armenia has increased compared to the import in recent years, but, in general, the opportunities and potential to expand it are available.
Andranik Aleksanyan, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA, mentioned the areas of cooperation: joint business, development of agricultural products for export to a third country, tourism, high technologies, construction industry.
Referring to the preferential export regime from Armenia to EU countries, Mr. Martin Sargsyan clarified that UAE businessmen can use preferential export conditions in case of establishing joint productions in Armenia, which is mutually beneficial. The President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA expressed hope that the creation of business councils in the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the two countries will significantly contribute to the mutual revitalization and expansion of business ties. Mr. Martin Sargsyan, as an important condition of cooperation, particularly emphasized the availability of an average of 14 weekly flights from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, which has already ensured a significant increase in tourism.
Lilia Gevorgyan, president of the "Business Women Support Fund" attached to the chamber, informed the guest that their foundation signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Business Women Committee of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and a regular business meeting was held months ago.
The ambassador promised to organize a conference of businesswomen of the two countries in the UAE to create more favorable conditions for the implementation of joint projects.
On September 2, in Arzakan settlement of Kotayk region, the regular external session of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA presidency took place, chaired by the Chamber's president Martin Sargsyan. The session took place in existing and online modes.
"Today, the agenda of business is to increase export volumes and create new structures aimed at increasing efficiency," Mr. Martin Sargsyan highlighted the main topic of the meeting.
The project of forming a structure supporting export was presented in detail by the Chamber's vice-president Karen Ivanov, simultaneously answering the many concerns of the participants. Mr. Martin Sargsyan made an important observation related to the topic, noting that foreign trade will not naturally develop fully if the business of insurance of goods and services is not regulated. It is one of the important links in the chain of complex work.
Andranik Aleksanyan, executive director of the chamber, added the establishment of virtual offices in different countries and interrelated work. The preparation and approval of the agreement on free trade between the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran was considered an important issue in the development of foreign trade, which will have a landmark and regulatory role. He proposed to invite the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Armenia to discuss the issue thoroughly. As an important link in that chain, Mr. Aleksanyan mentioned the establishment of a business council with free participation between the United Arab Emirates-Armenia chambers of commerce and industry.
Chairman of the session, Martin Sargsyan, together with Artashes Kakoyan, the president of the permanent arbitration institution attached to the Palace, presented questions and clarifications about the most effective and preferable individual options in that case, in particular, the advantage of examining economic disputes up to 5 million drams in arbitration proceedings, submitting arbitral awards without the approval of the courts of first instance. It is most effective in making quick judgments especially in a short period of time without any unwanted delays. At the same time, it is necessary to be concerned with the issues of preparation and training of arbitration judges.
Sargis Aghabekyan, a member of the Presidency of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA, emphasized the membership procedure and financing of the planned structure. There were also suggestions regarding monitoring, creation of a separate electronic website and other issues.
At the end of the session, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA, Martin Sargsyan, in order to gain the approval of the participants, put the foundation for the creation of the export support structure to the vote, which passed unanimously.
On May 25, an Armenian-Georgian business women's forum was held in the Technopark building of Tbilisi. 14 companies from Armenia and more than 20 companies from different regions of Georgia participated in the forum. Lilia Gevorgyan, Advisor to the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Armenia, President of the Foundation for the Support of Business Women, delivered a welcome speech from Armenia. Presentations of women entrepreneurs' companies and services were presented on both sides.
A small exhibition was also organized within the framework of the forum, where the participants had the opportunity to present their products.
During the B2B, the participants of the Armenian-Georgian forum exchanged contacts, and preliminary arrangements were made regarding the holding of upcoming events in the fall of this year.
On May 26, the regular session of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA presidency was held with a multi-topic agenda.
At the beginning of the session, the President of the Chamber, Martin Sargsyan, suggested a minute of silence to honor the memory of Rubik Sargsyan, the president of the Aragatsotn Regional Chamber, a highly-earned scientist and a wonderful friend, who has an indelible contribution to the establishment and development of the system.
Then Mr. Sargsyan presented a number of agenda items, some of which were prioritized in the agenda. He particularly emphasized the activation and integration of the activities of the regional chambers, as regards the issues on the agenda of the session.
As such an important factor, Andranik Aleksanyan, executive director of the RA Chember of Commerce and Industry of the RA, specified the use of the international ''Ata carnet'' system for the temporary import of goods, which will provide an opportunity to avoid customs problems during the organization of exhibitions.Due to this, the businessman can temporarily export any amount of goods without customs arbitrariness to the country of his choice, on the condition that it will be returned to the previous address in the same way. In case of violations, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry will bear the responsibility.Therefore, it is necessary to ensure a reliable partnership while cooperating with insurance companies. It was noted that the temporary export applies to all countries, the chamber will inform all its members about the details.
Mr. Aleksanyan also informed that within the framework of the Generalized System of Privileges, the GSP+ program Armenia-USA, the American side has planned to grant export privileges to Armenian businessmen for about 3500 names of products under certain conditions. In the near future, there will be necessary clarifications and adjustment of details, there will also be an opportunity to use leasing in the field of the latest technologies.
The executive director of the chamber also presented the benefits of using the EACarea.com electronic platform, which will contribute to the integration of regional chambers in particular. Artak Yeghiazaryan, the website's founder, gave important details about that issue. All the necessary functions are included in the website, the products will be registered, and all the technical conditions are there to fully demonstrate this. It has an important advantage: a businessman can deal directly with a potential partner and solve problems promptly. An important circumstance was also mentioned: the product page should have the logo of the Chember of Commerce and Industry of RA , so that the businessman knows that the given businessman is a reliable partner. The President of the Chember of Commerce and Industry of the RA added that this platform can also serve Diaspora businessmen, increasing business connections and geography.
Vladimir Amiryan, operational director of the Chember of Commerce and Industry of RA, summarized the European programs, expressing satisfaction with the successful monitoring cooperation, especially in the food and textile sector. The Chamber has successfully cooperated with many business-related associations.
At the end of the session, Martin Sargsyan, the President of the RA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, particularly emphasized the promotion of the activities of regional chambers and the development of intra-regional economic ties.
On February 21, the Freedom of Information Center together with the RA Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a meeting and discussion on the topic of declaration of real beneficiaries. In 2023 from January 1, all RA legal entities are obliged to identify and declare their real beneficiaries. The deadline for submitting the statement is March 1. Administrative and criminal liability is established for failure to submit the declaration and improper submission.
The purpose of the meeting was to give the representatives of small and medium businesses an opportunity to jointly discuss the issues related to the declaration of real beneficiaries.
"The process is new, there are various problems, and we, as a structure protecting the interests of the business community, value this meeting from the point of view of mapping the problems related to the declaration process from the business side and developing joint options for their solution," said the executive director of the RA Chamber of Commerce and Industry in his speech. Andranik Aleksanyan.
In the first part of the meeting, IAC researcher Harutyun Tsatryan presented the results of the research project on "Impact of declaration of beneficial owners on the private sector" carried out with the support of the Center for International Private Entrepreneurship (CIPE).
In the second part of the meeting, the participants had the opportunity to address their concerns to Hripsime Iskandaryan, the representative of the authorized body implementing the declaration process, the agency of the State Register of Legal Entities of the RA Ministry of Justice.
Ms. Iskandaryan presented the stages of the declaration procedure, suggested where to find guidance materials related to the topic, answered the questions of the attendees.
Answers to the main questions related to the declaration can be found in the relevant section of the official website of the State Register. You can get acquainted with the procedure of declaration also through video-guides specially prepared for that purpose.
The official visit of the Armenian delegation to the UAE took place on February 7-9, 2023. The initiative to organize the visit belonged to the RA Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The head of the delegation was Lilia Gevorgyan, adviser to the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Armenia, president of the Armenian Business Women Support Fund. Within the framework of the business visit, the members of the delegation participated in the Denta-2023 annual international exhibition in Dubai, and an official reception was held at the Emirates Chamber of Commerce Federation. The delegation was represented by entrepreneurs in the medical field (dentistry and private laboratories) as well as women entrepreneurs who run business sectors such as food production and export, leather goods manufacturing, design, health tourism and legal consulting services. Armenian entrepreneurs managed to establish new business contacts, conduct negotiations, receive invitations to new business events in Dubai, exchange experience.
On February 10, an extraordinary remote meeting of the Advisory Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of EAEU member states took place. On the agenda are the results of the discussion of the upcoming financing support for production cooperation within the framework of the EAEU and cooperation support of the EAEU chambers.
Welcoming the participants and appreciating the importance of the extraordinary session, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA, Chairman of the Council of Heads of EAEU Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Martin Sargsyan welcomed the initiative of the Russian side in proposing and developing sustainable sources of financing cooperative projects in the industry. He highly appreciated the initiative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation to determine the approaches and standards of financial cooperation at the expense of EAEU budget funds to the mentioned problem in the integration projects of cooperation. Mr. Sargsyan emphasized at the same time. "As before, we consider everyone necessary today unification and cooperation of trade and industry chambers, including separate structures of EAEU, to improve the conditions of industrial cooperation, joint ventures
creation, as well as in the direction of the participation of national events in integration projects".
Mr. Sargsyan expressed his belief that only large businesses will actually be allowed to participate in the projects to be implemented according to the presented standards. He fully justified his proposal.
"At the same time, I must emphasize our proposal on approaches and standards, in particular, to the extent that it is appropriate for the State Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA to lobby the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises, in our opinion, there is a need to review the detailed approach and priority financing conditions, especially for medium-sized manufacturing businesses, which We proposed a number of criteria for the selection of financial cooperation projects of the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
the possibility of replacing".
Martin Sargsyan, the President of the RA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, justified his recommendation that the participation threshold of 0.5 billion - 20 billion rubles will not contribute to the development of medium-sized businesses in particular, and it should be lowered up to 50 million rubles. It is gratifying that two of the three points proposed by Mr. Sargsyan were accepted and should be submitted to the Eurasian Economic Commission for revision.
The meeting did not accept the issue of establishing a project office for financing the cooperation of EAEU chambers, and it was decided to work in a group format, which is more efficient and simplified.
Mr. Sargsyan suggested to the EAEU member countries' HCMCs to continue the regular exchange of information, collection and analysis of information more effectively, which is an important factor of rapprochement and exchange of advanced experience. He assured that the RA Chamber of Commerce and Industry is always ready to participate and support any programs that will serve to create new jobs, bring businessmen together and establish prosperity.
It was decided to convene the next session on June 7-9, 2023.
On November 29, Andranik Aleksanyan, the executive director of the RA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, received New Zealand's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Armenia, Sarah Walsh. Mr. Aleksanyan congratulated the ambassador on assuming the post and expressed his willingness to support New Zealand organizations in carrying out any type of business activity in Armenia. Highlighting the activation of economic ties between the two countries, the ambassador noted that there is already interest from some companies to enter the Armenian market. The parties particularly discussed cooperation in the fields of mining, food and beverage, agriculture, greenhouses, and solar energy. An agreement was reached to continue the cooperation in a working order in the future, as well as to initiate the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the two countries.
On June 30, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA hosted the newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, Akambi Andre Okunlola-Biau.
Andranik Aleksanyan, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry RA, congratulated Ambassador Okunlola-Biau on his assumption of office.
Issues related to the activation of bilateral trade and economic relations were discussed.
On the initiative of the ambassador, a memorandum of understanding will be signed between the chambers of the two countries in the near future.
On April 26, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Armenia organized a round-table discussion for young businessmen of Shirak marz entitled "Problems among young businessmen" in the Gyumri Youth Chamber. At the beginning of the meeting, the operational director of the Chamber, Vladimir Amiryan, presented the purpose and agenda of the meeting, emphasizing that young businessmen are one of the main driving forces of economic life, and that the problems of young businessmen are always on the agenda of the Chamber. Luiza Ayvazyan, the Armenian representative of the International Private Entrepreneurship Center, presented the activities of the organization in the world and in Armenia. Chamber program coordinator Edgar Mehrabyan presented "Young entrepreneurship in Armenia. International experience and perspectives" presentation.
Each of the participants presented problems related to their business, which were mainly related to:
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Amiryan once again thanked the attendees for the active discussion and assured that the Chamber will present the issues raised on the appropriate platforms of the state-private sector dialogue.
On April 7, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Dominican Republic to Armenia Hans Dannenberg Castellanos (residence: Moscow) visited the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA. He was received by Chamber Executive Director Andranik Aleksanyan and Operations Director Vladimir Amiryan. The ambassador presented the level of economic development of the Dominican Republic and possible areas of cooperation.
The Dominican Republic is a subtropical Caribbean country with a population of around 10 million. Agriculture was particularly developed in the past. At present, with the development of the free economic zone, the industry already dominates. The country has reserves of nickel, silver, bauxite, gold, and iron. It has 7 international airports and other export and import infrastructures.
Speaking about the prospect of development of cooperation with Armenia, the ambassador first highlighted the need to create a direct flight. He noted that although the Dominican Republic is the country that imports the most wines in the region, they still want to import high-quality Armenian wine and brandy.
As the first important step of cooperation, Andranik Aleksanyan mentioned the signing of a memorandum between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the two countries, recording the priorities.
And as a second important step, Vladimir Amiryan added the factor of having a Dominican Republic consul in Armenia.
The ambassador expressed hope that the mentioned problems will be solved in the near future at the next meeting.
On March 30, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA together with the "Export Armenia" Association of Experts organized a round-table discussion under the title "Export Possibilities in Current Conditions".
Andranik Aleksanyan, executive director of the Chamber, made a speech of welcome, urging a constructive discussion in order to clarify the existing problems and challenges in the export sector.
Vladimir Amiryan, operational director of the Chamber, presented the agenda in the opening speech and noted that the purpose of the meeting is to form clear recommendations as a result of the discussion, which will contribute to the growth of exports in the long term. Karen Martirosyan, co-founder of the "Export Armenia" Association of Experts, also stated in her speech that there are many problems in the sector. which should be brought out as a result of similar discussions and receive appropriate solutions.
Edgar Mehrabyan, program coordinator of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of RA, presented the structure of RA exports and the main export directions. About 25 exporters and sector experts participated in the discussion, who expressed their concerns about the existing problems in the export sector and their suggestions for their solution. In particular, logistics problems, export professional structure, certification, economic diplomacy, correct targeting of target markets, definition of strategic priorities, to the issues of proper presentation and branding of Armenian products.
As a result of further discussions with the expert and business community, the RA Chamber of Commerce and Industry will form a package of relevant recommendations to present to the public and private sectors. Meetings with such a format will be continuous, including the regions of the Republic of Armenia.