Recently, addressing the actual situation related to economic relations between Armenia and China, the H1 Public TV Company of Armenia introduced inaccurate data about the dynamics of trade relations between the two countries.
During the main news program, it was claimed that China is Armenia’s second largest trade partner, which, however, is not true. The point is that the TV channel based its claim on the import index from China that is calculated according to the classification by country of origin. But this classification includes all goods of Chinese origin irrespective of which country they were imported from. Thus, this figure includes the value of goods of Chinese origin imported from third countries as well and, hence, it does not reflect the true level and quality of bilateral relations between Armenia and China. From that point of view, in order to give a more proper assessment of bilateral relations between the countries, it is necessary to rely on the classification by countries from which the goods were imported.
According to this latter classification, Russia was Armenia’s largest trade partner in terms of exports during January-April 2017, with a share of 21.6% from the total RA exports. Among main partners, China is also behind Switzerland (13.6%), Bulgaria (13%), Germany (7.3%), Georgia (7.3%), and even Iraq (5.9%). Thus, in terms of trade China is Armenia’s seventh largest trade partner, not the second, with a share of 5% in the total exports.
Regarding the imports, the Armenia’s largest partner is Russia with a share of 24.9%. It is followed by United Arab Emirates (6.4%), Georgia (6.2%) and Switzerland (5.5%). And China occupies only the fifth position in this regard, having a share of 5.2% in total imports.
Addressing the dynamics of bilateral trade, the TV channel also claimed that the trade turnover between Armenia and China is showing signs of growth. Well, the bilateral trade really did register 28.5% growth during the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. But this growth was registered against the background of sharp decline in 2016, when the bilateral trade volumes declined by 23 million USD. As a result, the bilateral trade has still not been able to recover and reach the 2015 index. The figure below reflects the dynamics of bilateral trade between Armenia and China during the last seven years, which, as can be observed, has generally displayed decline tendencies.