Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev welcomed a continuing double-digit growth of Russia’s trade with Armenia when he met with his Armenian counterpart Karen Karapetian on Monday.
The two men held talks on the sidelines of a meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana of the prime ministers of Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) member states.
“On the whole, the situation is not bad because there is an increase in both deliveries of goods from Armenia to Russia and overall commercial exchange between our countries,” Medvedev said in his opening remarks at the meeting. “We are continuing to coordinate our positions on joint investment projects, on a number of areas of economic cooperation which have emerged of late.”
“So on the whole, things are going well, but this doesn’t mean that we have nothing to discuss,” he added.
“I also want to discuss a number of issues, including dates for your visit to Armenia,” replied Karapetian.
Official Armenian statistics show that Russian-Armenian trade increased by over 23.7 percent to $737.5 million in the first half of this year. By comparison, Armenia’s trade with the European Union amounted to $677 million in the same period. It was up by 18 percent in absolute terms.
Russia surpassed the EU as Armenia’s leading trading partner after a similar rise in bilateral trade recorded last year. Armenian exports to Russia alone jumped by 51 percent in 2016. Officials in Yerevan attributed that to Armenia’s membership in the EEU, a Russian-led trade bloc comprising five ex-Soviet states.
Analysts believe that a stabilization and certain strengthening of the Russian ruble in 2016 was also a key factor. The Russian currency weakened sharply against the U.S. dollar in 2014 and 2015 due to the collapse of oil prices and Western economic sanctions imposed on Moscow. As a result, Russian-Armenian trade plummeted in 2015.