President Serzh Sargsyan holds consultation on Armenian-Italian economic cooperation agenda


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 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Italian Republic Victoria Baghdasaryan reported on the development of bilateral cooperation agenda in the prospective fields of mutual interest, such as energy, tourism, education and science, food industry, etc. The Ambassador gave information on the status of the agreements reached over the past period.

Noting that this year marks the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Italy, the President stressed that a shared history lies at the heart of Armenian-Italian relations, which boasts numerous manifestations of friendship and is extremely important for the strengthening of interstate relations. In this context, President Sargsyan said it is not accidental that Armenia has recorded significant achievements in almost all areas of cooperation with the friendly Italy.

“It is not a secret that Italy is one of our important partners in Europe, as well as in trade and economic relations, and it is no accidental that we are keen to deepen our intercourse with Italy, because Italy is a country providing high development and our cooperation with the Italians may bring in a new culture of management - modern, effective management, and we must make great efforts in this area.

Of course, we are glad that our trade turnover has grown significantly during the last two years: commodity turnover increased by almost 26 percent in the first half of 2017 against the same period of last year, while the exports from Armenia to Italy increased by 21 percent. All this speaks about the great potential inherent in these relations.

It is very important that along with the traditional directions new industries are emerging in these relations. With a chief focus on construction and food industry, our cooperation is expanding to cover new industries, such as high technology and energy, and this is a major investment. I am just convinced that in a few weeks the Italians will begin to implement the agreement reached over the construction of a new and efficient thermal power plant, and this is essential for us.

We must do considerable work to represent our capabilities in Italy, the range of our products. I want to draw special attention to the opportunities available in light industry. Given the fact that Italy is our second largest trading partner in Europe, and in terms of our trade, the share of light industry is 90 percent, this should already give us a reason for very serious hopes and reflections, because we are exporting products that are demanded in Italy and in Europe as well. It is extremely important for us to keep up this pace.

We within the country are paying great attention to this sphere, and I am deeply convinced that light industry will experience a qualitative leap in our country. Yesterday we witnessed the start of production of a new range of products at one of the local companies. We are confident that in a year we will get 3,5-4 thousand new jobs in a single local company alone, while we will go deeper into the production process in terms of increasing not only the output capacity, but also in terms of new products at different stages. That is we will not only produce clothing, but also fabrics, yarn, and in this way, we will reach the initial stage. Of course, we in Armenia can not grow cotton, but we can implement all the other processes and have already developed specific programs to that effect.

I feel that we should present to Italian businessmen Armenia’s competitive advantages as compared to other countries. I also have in mind our membership in the Eurasian Economic Union. The Italians are sophisticated businessmen: they know how to sell their goods well, and in this respect, I think that they can see Armenia as a platform to maintain their positions in this 170 million-strong marketplace.
I think tourism is very promising. Italy is among the leading countries in terms of per capita index of inbound tourism, which means that this industry is very developed in Italy. We can take advantage of their achievements, as well as their experience. It must be borne in mind that both Armenians and Italians are proud of their cultural and historical heritage, and that the Italians are very fond of their national heritage. Therefore, we can boast a sharp takeoff here, especially considering that the number of tourists has increased by more than 20 percent this year.

We must also take into account that tourism is a sphere, the development of which calls for an integrated approach. It is just not enough to raise awareness of our country and have the appropriate infrastructures. Tourist flows are now very well managed in the world, and the Italians are among the key players in this area. That is, we need to cooperate either in this field,” the President said.

In order to fully use the potential available in Armenian-Italian economic relations and develop cooperation in the most promising sectors, President Serzh Sargsyan gave a number of instructions to the ministries and agencies concerned.

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