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Seda Hergnyan

Armenia's Increasing Tobacco Exports: Who's Buying?

The manufacture of cigarettes and other tobacco products is becoming an increasing source of revenue for Armenia.

In 2016, Armenian manufactured US$281 million worth of cigarettes, up 23.5% from the previous year.

Last year, $209 million worth of cigarettes and other tobacco products were exported – a total of some 21 billion cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos; almost 75% of domestic production.

This is a 31% increase over 2015 in terms of the number of items exported and a 22% increase in terms of value.

While cigarette exports have shot up since 2011, imports have basically remained the same, even decreasing slightly.

Exports

2010 - $8.2 million

2011 - $16.3 million

2012 - $41.8 million

2013 - $68 million

2014 - $116.5 million

2015 - $171 million

2016 - $209 million

Imports

2010 - $65.4 million

2011 - $57.3 million

2012 - $53.5 million

2013 - $68 million

2014 - $44.6 million

2015 - $39 million

2016 - $40.5 million

Iraq remains the main importer of Armenian cigarettes – some 60% overall. Syria is also a large importer – some 16% of exports ($27.8 million worth).

Last year, Armenian cigarettes broke into the UAE market – 12.5% of exports.

Armenian cigarettes are no longer exported to Turkmenistan and Jordan.

Armenia’s entry into the Eurasian Economic Union hasn’t led to an increase in cigarette exports to that market.

Only 3% of Armenia cigarette exports go to Russia. None are exported to Belarus, Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan.

The only African country importing Armenian cigarettes in Libya - $805,000 worth.

Georgia imported $7.8 million worth of Armenia-made cigarettes.

Much smaller importers are Germany ($660,000), Lithuania ($500,000) and Poland ($87,000).

The tobacco sector in Armenia is also, due to its growth, a major taxpayer.

In 2016, Grand Tobacco Armenian-Canadian Joint Venture Ltd. (GTAC-JV) was the second largest taxpayer in Armenia, paying some 22.6 billion AMD in taxes. This amounts to a 65% increase over 2015.

There are three large tobacco producers in Armenia – GTAC-JV), International Masis Tabac and Masis Tabac.

All three belong to Grand Holding.