Saturday, April 13 2024 21:58
Alina Hovhannisyan

EAEU and its economic principles should not be mixed with political  ambitions - Nikol Pashinyan

EAEU and its economic principles should not be mixed with political  ambitions - Nikol Pashinyan

ArmInfo.Below is an interview with Armenia's Premier Nikol Pashinyan with "Egemen Qazaqstan" and  "Kazakhstanskaya Pravda" newspapers. 

- Mr. Prime Minister, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the  signing of the treaty on friendship and cooperation between  Kazakhstan and Armenia. How will bilateral relations between our  countries progress in this quarter of a century?

- Indeed, this document significantly established the general  principles and main priorities of our interstate relations and was a  decisive moment in the way of bringing bilateral cooperation to a  completely new level.  Since then, the period that has passed has  clearly shown that further increasing the potential of bilateral  cooperation is fully responsive to the fundamental interests of the  Armenian and Kazakh peoples.

Today, our relations are distinguished by their strategic nature and  include reliable political dialogue, including the highest level. I  would like to note with great interest that there is a mutual  political will that allows us to advance in all directions, enriching  bilateral relations with new content and strategic orientations. We  are committed to the development of bilateral relations based on the  principles of genuine equal communication, mutual assistance, respect  for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and  consideration of interests. These are values common to the people of  Armenia and Kazakhstan.

Our countries, based on centuries-old close relations, have  comprehensively engaged in interstate dialogue and cooperation in all  directions, from political integration in bilateral and multilateral  formats and the expansion of trade and economic cooperation in all  fields, to the deepening of cultural and humanitarian ties, to the  development of partnership relations at the interregional level. and  is actively supporting the continuous increase.

A lot of work has been done before. There is no doubt that there is a  lot of work to be done together in the future.

- In 2023, trade between Kazakhstan and Armenia increased by more  than 23 percent. Despite this pace, the potential of our countries'  trade and economic cooperation is often not fully utilized. In your  opinion, what areas of mutual cooperation are considered promising?

- Last year's increase in bilateral trade confirms the effectiveness  of the mechanisms created to facilitate business conditions. However,  I welcome the fact that it is necessary to take measures to find new  ways of mutual cooperation aimed at bringing cooperation in the  economic spheres to a completely new level that corresponds to the  potential and development priorities of our countries.

In this context, the intergovernmental commission on economic  cooperation between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of  Kazakhstan is assigned special responsibility. Its next, tenth  meeting was held at the beginning of April this year. Given that  special attention was paid at the meeting to the issues of  diversification of transport routes, identification of new chains of  export-import and transit operations, we can expect an appropriate  result in the near future. In addition to traditional directions such  as food and jewelry industry or pharmaceuticals, we are addressing  the issue of cooperation in the field of innovative technologies  (launching joint start-ups, making devices, digitizing education,  stimulating sector investments, etc.).

Armenia, like Kazakhstan, pays special attention to the development  of transport and logistics infrastructure. In this regard, the  Government of the Republic of Armenia presented the large-scale  "Peace Meeting" infrastructure project for our region. In its  framework, it is planned to attract and modernize a number of  transport and communication networks. The purpose of this project is  to create more favorable conditions for the development of trade and  economic relations between the interested states, as well as to  significantly increase the logistics potential of the South Caucasus  region based on full respect for the sovereignty and jurisdiction of  countries and the principle of equality and mutual understanding.

In addition, I believe that the establishment of direct communication  in the "Business to Business" ("B2B") format can positively  contribute to the realization of the trade and economic potential of  our countries. At the same time, I would like to highlight the work  done within the framework of the Armenia-Kazakhstan business forum  held in Yerevan at the beginning of this month.

- Today, more than 400 companies with a share of Armenian capital are  registered in Kazakhstan, and about 100 companies with a share of  Kazakh capital work in various sectors of the economy in your  country. What makes Armenia attractive for Kazakhstan entrepreneurs?  In your opinion, what are the prospects for the development of  cooperation in the investment sphere for our countries?

- Thanks to the "Open Door" policy of the Government of the Republic  of Armenia, there are no restrictions on investment activity in the  country. Our Government provides comprehensive support to foreign  investors, including our Kazakhstani partners. We have adopted a  number of programs that provide government support and resources for  investment projects that promote economic development and innovation.  Also, favorable conditions for doing business have been created in  free economic zones of Armenia. A comprehensive package of tax  benefits is offered and simplified procedures are applied.

Armenia consistently pursues a multi-vector foreign trade policy.  Here, the preferential trade regime with Kazakhstan within our EAEU,  as well as the possibility of combining transport and logistics  potentials in order to diversify the trade and transport routes of  the two countries, are taken into account. These steps make our  country attractive for Kazakh entrepreneurs.

In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to the importance  of direct contacts between representatives of the business community  of Armenia and Kazakhstan to encourage investments. I believe that  the government institutions of both countries will do their best to  adequately protect capital and ensure a safe and predictable  investment environment.

- Today, Kazakhstan is a leader in Central Asia in the field of  digitization. Further development of this field, which covers all  directions from financial technologies to electronic government,  remains one of the main priorities of our country. Armenia is also  emphasizing the modernization of information and communication  technologies and the development of the knowledge economy. What  experiences could our countries share in this field?

- Thanks to favorable conditions for doing business, qualified  specialists, as well as state support, the IT industry in Armenia has  been developing significantly in recent years. The domestic  information and technology sector shows steady growth at the level of  20 percent annually, that is, it is one of the most rapidly  developing industries in the country. In the international arena,  Armenian companies have a great reputation in the field of software,  artificial intelligence, machine learning, information security  developments, as well as innovative financial and technological  startups.

There is great mutual interest between representatives of the  high-tech industry of the two countries. Taking this into account, I  believe that the work of determining the specific mechanisms and  forms of cooperation in this direction will be followed by promising  joint projects in the near future.

- Mr. Prime Minister, do you think that combining the efforts of EAEU  member states can bridge geopolitical differences and create a more  stable model of economic cooperation?

- EAEU is an economic union without any political and geopolitical  agenda. Armenia and Kazakhstan support this position in most cases  and are developing cooperation within the framework of this economic  union in this context.

We are trying to prevent various attempts to politicize the EAEU and  continue to develop cooperation within the framework of economic  cooperation. EAEU and its economic principles should not be mixed  with political ambitions. The fundamental freedoms of trade and  association are not and should not be limited by political  considerations. Otherwise, it undermines the fundamental principles  of the association.

- Kazakhstan and Armenia interact not only bilaterally, but also  within the framework of multilateral structures. Is there mutual  understanding between the two countries on the main issues on the  international and regional agenda?

- We have been building stable relations based on mutual trust in our  multilateral arenas. We openly exchange opinions on current issues on  the global and regional agenda. We are also ready to jointly search  for solutions to the problems that have arisen.

Armenia, like Kazakhstan, respects the norms and principles of  international law, including respect for state sovereignty,  recognition and respect for each other's territorial integrity,  inviolability and inviolability of state borders.

Our countries strive to diversify their economies and transit  potential.

All of the above-mentioned points make the positions of Armenia and  Kazakhstan on the main issues in the international panorama clear to  each other.

Also, the positions of Yerevan and Astana in the framework of  multilateral structures are often very close to each other, although  they are not always the same. Taking this into account, Armenia is  ready to further develop and deepen constructive cooperation with  Kazakhstan in various international and regional arenas on the basis  of mutual support.

- As a rule, humanitarian relations, especially human relations, make  a great contribution to the development of mutual understanding and  cooperation between states. Many ethnic Armenians live in Kazakhstan,  who have the opportunity to develop their culture and language, to  strengthen ties with their historical homeland. And how many Kazakhs  live in Armenia? What measures are being taken at the interstate  level to further strengthen mutual solidarity and friendship between  the two peoples?

- As a diasporic nation, Armenians have long understood how important  it is to freely express and preserve their linguistic, ethnic,  cultural and religious identity. For our government, opening the way  for people-to- people contacts, supporting the activities of cultural  and informational centers and associations of our compatriots is a  priority.

Tens of thousands of Armenians live in Kazakhstan today. They make a  significant contribution to the formation and development of friendly  countries. As citizens devoted to their country, they are doing  everything to preserve their national identity, mother tongue and  traditions. We are, of course, very grateful to the people and  Government of Kazakhstan for creating an inclusive and equal social  environment.

Although the number of ethnic Kazakhs living in Armenia is relatively  small, our people highly value the centuries-old friendship with the  Kazakh people and always treat you with great attention and respect.

- Thank you very much for taking the time to do the interview.  

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