Turkish Goods Will Swamp Stores in Armenia: Export Group Calls on Armenian Government to Support Local Producers
Emil Stepanyan, co-founder of Export Armenia, an association that represents local exporters in Armenia, today said Pashinyan’s government must take specific steps to protect domestic producers since Turkish imports are no longer banned.
On December 30, 2021, the Armenian Ministry of Economy announced that the Turkish import ban would not be extended. The Armenian government announced the ban on October 20, 2020, as a response to Turkey’s support of Azerbaijan’s war effort in Artsakh.
Stepanyan, at a Yerevan press conference, criticized the Armenian government for not pressing Armenian importers to turn to local producers during the one-year ban on Turkish imports.
Stepanyan said that despite the ban, Turkish gods were smuggled into Armenia and freely sold.
He said that when the ban of Turkish goods was announced Armenian importers replenished their stocks and that these goods were sold in stores during the ban.
"Turkish goods will again replace those of local small, not very powerful, small-medium enterprises in Armenian shops. Every product that is produced in a rich, powerful country with a market of 100 million in Turkey has a lower cost price and naturally has a better chance of being sold than the Armenian one. I won’t even mention Turkish state support and that their factories are equipped with the latest technologies. Turkish production surpasses a number of European countries in terms of innovation," Stepanyan said.
Given that 70% of the retail trade in Yerevan is takes place in just ten supermarkets, competition for prime shelf space is fierce and small domestic producers lose out to the big manufacturers.
Stepanyan said large foreign manufacturers, whose products are imported to Armenia, can “out-market” the smaller players and obtain prime display space for their goods.
Prior to the Turkish ban, Armenia imported some $270 million worth of goods annually from Turkey. There is no demand for Armenian products in Turkey.
Prior to the ban, knitted garments, citrus fruits, wallpaper, cotton fabric and petroleum products were among the top five goods imported from Turkey to Armenia.
Export Armenia co-founder Anna Beklyarova lamented the lack of an Armenia government export agenda.
"To date, there is no institute of export promotion in Armenia. Producers are forced to take their own measures. They are waiting for state support, but here we must understand that a systemic approach must be shown. We need to work with businesses,” Beklyarova said.
She cited the example of Belarus which does not prohibit the import of any country's products but has stipulated that 80% of products sold in the country should be local products.
"We are trying to erect a building without a plan. We install a window here, a door there. A house is not built without a foundation," Beklyarova said.