Preferences for Yerevan’s participation in integration projects are

Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
Jan 4 2015

Preferences for Yerevan’s participation in integration projects are
not expected from Karabakh separatists

4 January 2015 – 4:40pm
Vestnik Kavkaza

About 40 countries and integration groupings formally expressed their
desire to create a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union,
which came into force on 1 January. Negotiations are being held with
Vietnam, Israel, India and Egypt. However, the EEU still has to
“digest” its new members. Kyrgyzstan should become a fully-fledged
member of the Eurasian Union in only six months, but for Armenia this
issue has been resolved already.

The benefit of the Eurasian Economic Union to Yerevan obvious, the
benefit from Yerevan to the Eurasian Union is not.

The Armenian economy is not as great as the Russian or Kazakhstani
economies, which is likely to force other countries of the EEU to
invest in Armenia.

The share of the distributable Yerevan customs duties derived from
imports of goods into the territory of the EEU was 1.13%. At the same
time, the share of Belarus is reduced from 4.7% to 4.65%; Kazakhstan –
from 7.3% to 7.25%, Russia – from 88% to 86.97%.

Up to 2022, Armenia will be able to apply different rates from the EEU
customs duties on a number of products, including meat and meat
products. Until 2020 a separate tariff will operate for Yerevan for
some types of dairy products, e.g. eggs, honey, and until 2019 for
some types of fruit and nuts.

Armenia will also apply zero tariff rates on gasoline until 2018, and
on the common customs tariff the rate will switch in 2020. The same
principle will be regulated by the level of customs duties on certain
products of organic and inorganic chemistry, pharmaceutical products,
fertilizers, paints, household chemicals, leather, plastics and rubber
(including tyres).

Joining the EEU is unlikely to help Yerevan overcome the country’s
socio-political crisis. Experts point out that 2015 will be difficult
from the socio-economic point of view, and in terms of adapting to the
standards of the EEU. This is compounded by the problems of the lack
of common borders with the countries of the EEU and Armenia, and
instability in the Russian economy, on which essentially the Armenian
economy and Georgian rapprochement with Europe depends. The fact is
that for communication with Armenia it was planned to use just road
transport through the territory of Georgia through the Upper Lars
checkpoint – Kazbegi, or marine transport through the port of Poti.

But the main obstacle for Armenia’s accession to the EEU was
Nagorno-Karabakh – the territory of neighboring Azerbaijan, controlled
by Yerevan.

On 29 May at a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in
Astana, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that Armenia can
join the EEU without Nagorno-Karabakh, meaning within the borders
recognized by the UN.

It was clear that Armenia joining the new integration association
would benefit everyone, but it is not clear to what purpose Yerevan
continued to “muddy the waters” with statements about the necessity of
entering the EEU with Karabakh.

As a result, the signing of the Treaty of Accession of Armenia to the
EEU was postponed several times, but finally in Yerevan it was
realized that to “drag” Karabakh into the EEU was unrealistic.

Experts have even said that it would be logical to consider Armenia’s
accession to the EEU after the settlement of the Karabakh conflict,
then no problems would exist. If the European Union has rules that
prohibit states with unresolved territorial conflicts from becoming
members of the European Union, then in the documents of the Eurasian
Economic Union this issue is not clearly specified. In this regard,
analysts predict that the Karabakh issue will sooner or later emerge
in the EEU.

Today Armenia needs serious internal reforms of its
criminal-oligarchic economic model, and it is clear that the best way
out of the political and economic crisis, which continues in Yerevan,
could be a constructive approach to the settlement of the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In Armenia, it is realized that it was the
policy of the leadership of the republic that led to the current
deplorable state of the country, and that to get out of this impasse
will be extremely difficult. But supporters of the separatist regime
still build the illusion of “Greater Armenia” and hope for the
preferences of participation in such integration projects.

Armenia joining EEU provides the ability to export its goods to the
Common Market countries participating in this association, and some
observers fear that Yerevan may try to “push” products produced in
Nagorno-Karabakh to the markets of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
Naturally, we are not talking about massive exports, but a few hundred
bottles of alcoholic beverages produced in Nagorno-Karabakh can get
through Armenia to the markets of the Eurasian Union. However, in Baku
it is believed that, with respect for the prestige and image of
Azerbaijan in the world, none of the countries would want to spoil the
EEU’s relationship with Azerbaijan and won’t take advantage of
provocative transactions that may be offered by Armenia.

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