By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Benefits expected by Armenia from membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) did not materialize. Armenia, unlike Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, is still unable to gain advantage from the organization created for comprehensive modernization, cooperation and enhancing the competitiveness of national economies.
The problem is that members of the Union do not have common unifying values with Armenia, even borders. Many experts believe that Armenia was not able to achieve the tasks set when joining the EAEU. The country could not reduce the cost of its products despite the organization's privileges and lack of customs barriers to mutual trade.
Following the results of 2018, the political situation had a significant impact on the economy in Armenia. Analysts consider unfavorable investment climate in Armenia due to unstable political situation in the country.
Recently, it became known about the plans to create a free economic zone (FEZ) in Armenia. It is not the first, but most likely as meaningless as the previous such zones.
The decision to create another FEZ seems strange. Armenia on the example of previous unsuccessful FEZs should have already understood that the construction of new such zones will not help the situation to improve. The number one recipe for the long-awaited escape of Armenia from the unpromising future is withdrawal of its troops from the occupied territories in Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and consequent opening of borders with Turkey.
Until recently, Armenia had special hope connected with Meghri FEZ located on the border with Iran. The Armenian side advertised this FEZ as a link between Iran and the EAEU space. However, Yerevan still cannot find an answer to the question of how the EAEU countries can use the Armenian services.
After all, the EAEU has no common borders with Armenia, and potential approaches are blocked by Armenia-launched conflicts with neighbors. Thus, a country with closed borders cannot be a connecting node, especially when it comes to countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan or Belarus.
Recently, one of the Armenian media had published article about the Meghri FEZ. It indicates that there is dead silence on the FEZ territory at the moment and there is no construction work.
The publication states that the Armenian government cannot even resolve issues related to customs at Meghri checkpoint and suspects that the construction of this FEZ will be long and with poor quality.
In order to benefit from the FEZ in Meghri, Armenia's partners have to stand in multi-day traffic jams at the Russian-Georgian impassable checkpoint. An alternative to this checkpoint could be convenient in all respects way through Azerbaijan, but due to its aggressive policy towards the neighboring country, Yerevan cannot count on a more attractive option.
Over the past two decades, Armenia has actually isolated itself from the outside world. The reason for this is the continued occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, as well as irresponsible accusations towards Turkey. Many experts estimate the enormous economic losses of the country during this time. So far, common sense did not prevail among the current Armenian authorities and the country foolishly continues to lose huge transit opportunities.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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