"Sanctioned goods from Armenia are not being exported to Russia" - Minister of Economy
Armenia not circumventing sanctions
“Armenia is not assisting Russia in circumventing sanctions,” Economy Minister Vahan Kerobyan stated. According to him the issue is being discussed, but there are no facts: “Two or three Armenian companies that were engaged in such activities fell under sanctions, but there is no large-scale circumvention.” The minister maintains that the government is doing everything so that the country does not fall under sanctions, but considers it expedient to make the best use of the economic opportunities that have arisen.
Growing trade without circumventing sanctions
According to Kerobyan, in 2022 trade between Armenia and Russia was $5 billion, which means an almost two-fold increase. The minister argues that the record figure was not due to Russia’s assistance in circumventing sanctions, but other factors:
- The Russian market has lost many goods. Armenian manufacturers have an opportunity to fill this niche.
- There are categories of goods that are not subject to sanctions, but Armenian manufacturers do not want to supply them to Russia directly because of difficulties with financial calculations. Local entrepreneurs took advantage of this opportunity, establishing business ties between buyers and sellers, becoming intermediaries.
The goal is to take advantage of emerging economic opportunities
In early March, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Treasury announced that certain countries were “being used to smuggle prohibited goods into Russia or Belarus.” Along with China, Turkey and Uzbekistan, Armenia was mentioned.
The Minister of Economy stated that “this is not a statement of facts”, and Armenia is working with all partners, trying to explain to them what role it wants to play in the “reshaping world”:
“We see ourselves as a bridge between different economic blocs – a legitimate, legal bridge across which permitted goods, services and funds can be moved. The goal of the government is to take advantage of the economic opportunities that have arisen.”
According to Kerobyan, the main condition for this is not to fall under sanctions, for which “the government is doing daily work,” but no one can guarantee this.
He emphasizes, in any case, the customs authorities and the banking system make it possible to almost completely eliminate these risks. An additional control function was the procedure for licensing certain goods.
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Armenia does not help circumvent sanctions