A Recently published promotional video about the Eurasian Economic Union among other achievements states that for example in 2011 there were six customs checkpoints from the Belarusian city of Brest to Kyrgyzstan’s Naryn, while there is none now. We also heard the promises about Armenian products entering the Eurasian Economic Union in 2013-2014, when Armenia’s accession to EAEU was in preparation.
Now, let’s try to understand how true the claims are that the EAEU market is open for Armenian exporters are.
Now, as in 2011, for obvious reasons, there are 4 checkpoints from Armenian Bavra (or Bagratashen) to Russian Upper Lars. But it’s not only the geography behind Armenian exporters’ discontent.
Specifically, for example, head of the Union of the Exporters Raffi Mkhjyan, whose company also exports products to Russia, told about the corruption on the Eurasian Economic Union borders, saying that the EAEU is unable to regulate its Upper Lars border point.
According to Mkhjyan, nothing’s changed, and in the present, without corruption, without the “jittery situations,” Lars is not possible to pass.
The fact of a corrupt atmosphere in this checkpoint is not denied even by Armenian officials. In particular, the former Minister of Economy Artsvik Minasyan said, “One thing is the document by which the load must move freely, and another – illegal actions against Armenian exporters or citizens of the Republic of Armenia.” In an answer to this question, the current Minister of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies Vahan Martirosyan said: “That issue was raised in the Russian government.”
We have already referred to the free movement problems that the citizens of Armenia, a EAEU member state, face in Russia. This question was raised in the Armenian parliament, to which the former Minister of Transport and Communication Gagik Beglaryan said: “We can not intervene in such issues outside the area of the Republic.”
Thus, turns out that Armenia entrepreneurs are not able to take advantage of duty-free mode of cargo transportation (which is considered an EAEU achievement) not only because of geography, but also because of the atmosphere of corruption and impunity in the EAEU border checkpoint, which righty causes discontent among Armenians.
And, if the Kazakh businessmen are able to freely deliver their products to Russia and Belarus, then this customs corruption causes additional obstacles for Armenian businessmen for competing in the Eurasian Economic Union market.