Foreign trade of Armenia and anti-Russian sanctions: Eurasian U-turn
According to estimates of Armenian economists, in 2022, approximately 200 thousand citizens of the Russian Federation moved to Armenia to work, while about 65-70 thousand settled in the republic. The rest either returned to Russia or left for third countries.
Labour migration from Armenia to Russia has been declining, and since 2022 there has been a reverse process. The noticeable increase in bank transfers and the unprecedented growth in exports and imports of Armenia in 2022 is primarily associated with Western anti-Russian sanctions.
EAEU – Eurasian Economic Union role
The growth of Armenian exports is mainly facilitated by the single and free EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) market. In 2022 alone, exports to its member countries increased 2.8 times ( from 883 million to 2.5 billion dollars ). At the same time, exports to EU countries in 2022 grew by only 17.8% ( from 656 to 773 million dollars ). Exports to China decreased by 2% ( from 403 to 395 million dollars ). Exports to the Middle East increased 2.8 times ( from 351 to 984 million dollars ).
Last year brought noticeable changes. the main export item to the EAEU – is no longer alcoholic and non-alcoholic products, as in previous years. Now it is equipment, whose exports grew more than 10 times a year. It is easy to understand that we are talking about re-export from third countries to Russia sub-sanction goods. Exports from Armenia to Russia in 2022 almost tripled – from $ 841 million to $ 2 billion 411 million. Last year, trade between Russia and Armenia reached $ 5.03 billion with a sharp acceleration in annual growth from 20.9% to 91.7%.
The main articles of re-export are mechanical and electronic equipment, cars and diamonds. Of the total volume of re-export currently entering Russia, about 6-7% passes through Armenia. That affects the growth of tax revenues.
Pressure from the EU and the US
Last year, the Armenian economy was heavily hooked on re-export. However, earlier, the EU was not worrying. Now everything has changed. Today, their attention is focused on the abnormal rise in exports from the EU to third countries, including Armenia. Armenia was listed in the circle of “suspected” countries. This is a lever of pressure on Yerevan, primarily political.
After Russia and China, Iran became Armenia’s third most important trading partner. The parties intend to bring the level of trade to 1 billion dollars.