Turkey embargo wasn’t working in practice, says Armenian lawmaker after lifting trade ban
YEREVAN, JANUARY 4, ARMENPRESS. There is no certain final opinion in Armenia on the “economic appropriateness” regarding a potential extension of the ban on imports of Turkish products, but nevertheless the Armenian government lifted the embargo by taking into account all opinions both in favor and against.
Lawmaker Babken Tunyan, the Deputy Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee of the Armenian Parliament, told ARMENPRESS that the ban wasn’t delivering its desired effect, and despite the embargo many importers were utilizing circumvent ways to bring Turkish products into the Armenian market.
“If we look at this issue from a patriotic perspective, what matters is - why is there demand for Turkish products in Armenia? If we were to compare with the situation we had during the 44-day war when everyone was boycotting Turkish products, now we must understand why people are again willing to buy Turkish products. If there is demand for some product, that product will find its market and will reach its consumer, be it in circumvent ways or at higher costs. That’s why it’s not right to artificially do something. If we put aside the emotional part, we must evaluate its appropriateness from an economic perspective,” Tunyan said.
Tunyan, an economist, further noted that the ban was anyway temporary and partial, with only finished goods being prohibited. Moreover, the list of banned products was revised several times because it turned out there was no alternative in the market.
“Economically, unfortunately this ban led to a situation where Turkish products were entering Armenia through different ways, because carrying out customs administration and control is practically impossible, and this simply led to prices of clothes, household items and other products in Armenia to grow, because these products are going through more complicated ways. Meaning, the objective we’d initially set politically doesn’t serve its purpose.”
In turn, the Ministry of Economy admitted that during the one year of its effect the ban had both positive and negative economic consequences.
Several newly launched or expanded industries in light industry, furniture and construction material production and agriculture are among the positive ones, according to the ministry. While the main negative consequence is the “significant impact on inflation” on various products. In addition, according to the ministry of economy many Armenian businessmen asked them to lift the ban.
The Armenian government initiated the 6-months embargo against Turkey because of the latter’s military support to Azerbaijan during the 2020 Nagorno Karabakh war.
The embargo was extended for another 6 months in the summer of 2021.
But on December 30, 2021, the Armenian authorities announced that they will no longer extend the embargo.
Interview by Aram Sargsyan