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(Geneva/Yerevan) Companies in Armenia will soon have increased capacity to identify trade opportunities with the European Union and within the Eastern Partnership region as part of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Trade Helpdesk project. On 26 April the International Trade Centre (ITC), in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia and the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia, organised the first stakeholder meeting on the EaP Trade Helpdesk project.

Launched in late 2019, the EaP Trade Helpdesk project is being implemented by ITC, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. It is supported by the European Union as part of its EU4Business initiative. The five-year project aims to boost the economic and trade relations between the Eastern Partnership countries and the European Union and within the EaP region. As a result of the project companies in the EaP countries will have increased access to comprehensive, verified and transparent trade information on the region and the EU through the EaP Trade Helpdesk online portal.  The online Helpdesk, available via the portal, will allow them to report on the export- and import-related issues and get practical solutions offered by relevant national authorities. In addition, the project will identify regulatory and procedural trade obstacles through national surveys of non-tariff measures, and provide sector-specific guides on exporting to the EU. Relevant national institutions will be better prepared to collect and process trade in services data for selected sectors, while companies and business support organisations will receive customized capacity building on market analysis to identify new opportunities in the region and the EU.

The national stakeholder meeting brought together representatives of government agencies, the EU Delegation to Armenia, ITC experts, and business support organisations. The participants learned about the objectives and the expected impact of the project, and ongoing and planned activities in Armenia. The meeting was also aimed at determining synergies with the existing national initiatives.

Artur Maysuryan, Head of Department of EU Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Economy of Armenia said: ''Export development is one of the main priorities of Armenia's economic policy, and  EaP Trade Helpdesk will become an important tool with which it will be possible to provide exporters with the necessary comprehensive information about the EaP and EU markets, which is undoubtedly one of the main challenges in this sphere.''

Jan Plešinger, Head of Political, Press and Information Section at the EU Delegation to Armenia commented: The EU seeks to achieve deeper trade and economic cooperation within its Eastern Partnership policy, including with Armenia. Diversification of exports from EaP countries to the EU and between each other will further deepen socio-economic ties and help in improvement of the EaP countries’ SMEs participation in the international trade. The EaP helpdesk will be the necessary tool for the Armenian companies to achieve their internationalization goals.

The trade provisions of Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between EU and Armenia, are based on the most recent and modern international and EU standards, and often go beyond WTO provisions in terms of opportunities. The objective is to create the right business environment for generating more exports from Armenia. Trade is an important part of EU –Armenia relations, the EU continues to be Armenia's key export market.

Mondher Mimouni, Chief of the Trade and Market Intelligence section at the International Trade Centre noted: “The activities of the project on the provision of better and more transparent trade information for Armenian exporters could help realise additional US$ 300 million in trade within the region and with the EU”.

The Trade Helpdesk portal will provide users with detailed information on trade statistics, export potential data, tariffs, preferential trade agreements, as well as export and import regulations and business contacts. The user-friendly platform will serve as a comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs in Armenia aiming to increase exports to the EU markets. 

For more information about the project please contact:

Mr. Paul Kelly, project manager, kelly@intracen.org

Visit the project page on ITC website https://www.intracen.org/EaP/

About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

About EU4Business - EU4Business is an umbrella initiative that includes all EU support to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the Eastern Partnership countries — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. EU4Business supports SME growth by improving access to finance and business development services, and by promoting better business regulation.

In 2019, 78,995 SMEs were supported through the EU4Business Initiative, generating an extra €1.3 billion in income and 117,254 new jobs, growing their turnover by 16.1%, and increasing their exports by 5.9% as a result.

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