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Armenia Takes Steps to Tevelop the Industry #53

03.07.2012

To learn more about the current state of Armenia’s jewellery industry and status of the country’s general economic condition, AJA Magazine spoke to Armenia’s Minister of Economy, Tigran Davtyan.
Over the past 13 years, the Armenian government has taken the necessary steps to restore some of the country’s old strengths and opportunities, with recent economic data proving these strategies to be successful. In 2011, for instance, the country’s overall economic growth was four per cent, while the diamond industry experienced a 30 per cent increase. With each additional step forward, progress is made and Armenia’s old stock market indexes are being restored.
To learn more about the current state of Armenia’s jewellery industry and status of the country’s general economic condition, AJA Magazine spoke to Armenia’s Minister of Economy, Tigran Davtyan.

AJA: Mr. Davtyan, what is your assessment of the Armenian Jewellers Association’s (AJA’s) initiatives aimed at developing the country’s jewellery industry?
TD: We have historical traditions in this industry, therefore, it is extremely important and very commendable that international Armenian jewellers are collaborating with each other to preserve those traditions.
It is even more important their combined strength is being directed from individual issues to the enhancement of the country’s economic gains. AJA’s activities are both interesting and worthy to us because their combined potential is being directed toward the Armenian economy. After all, the successes of the Diaspora are the successes of the Armenian economy.

AJA: What steps is Armenia’s Ministry Of Economy taking to support AJA’s initiatives?
TD: Of course, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure the Armenian economy develops as quickly and effectively as possible. We have already discussed a few initiatives and have found solutions.
After the Armenian National Assembly (ANA) passed the foundational law on free economic zones, a number of legislative measures went into effect and a legislative basis was established. In using this basis, the government officially approved the decision to create the first economic zone within the next six months.
In the future, we plan to create sector-specific zones; one of the most important zones should be for the jewellery and diamond industry. The Ministry of Economy is currently discussing the means of creating this zone with the AJA. One possible location is the Zvartnots International Airport.

AJA: Other than planning to create a free-economic zone, what strategies are in place to develop the jewellery industry?
TD: In December 2011, the Armenian government has adopted a Strategy designed to boost export-oriented industry. The Export-oriented Industrial Policy Strategy is an unprecedented document which outlines our vision for and approaches to the Armenian economy until the year 2020. Unique in format and strategic goals, this unprecedented document outlines our vision for and approaches to the Armenian economy for the next decade. The body which will coordinate the implementation of the strategy is the Industrial Council chaired by Prime-Minister of the Republic of Armenia. The first meeting of this Council took place on March 16. Representatives from the Armenian government, business and donor communities are the members of the Council. It is worthy of mention, that Gagik Gevorgyan, the president of AJA is also a Council member.Our main tasks for the future and our foundational principles were discussed at the meeting. Based on the principles established, the state will support the private sector. Diamond cutting, jewelry manufacturing and watchmaking are all priority industries for us, and since they are linked to each other, we have classified them as one sector. A special committee comprising the industry’s front-runners will also be established. These industry leaders must find optimal solutions in their everyday work within the framework of public-private partnership. We are also involving international organizations in this plan, including the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),  and our main partner, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).. I should mention that they have all responded positively and are ready to offer their support. Each organization has responded positively and is ready to offer its support.

AJA: What is the current state of the jewellery and diamond industry in Armenia?
TD: The industry is not going through the best of times, as is the case in most parts of the world, however, it’s not the worst of times either. It’s true that in 2000, there were exceptional opportunities to develop the industry, however, times like those don’t last long.
The industry also has its peculiarities. It has a fluctuating nature, and those fluctuations tend to affect the decision-making process at different times. That said, I think we overcame the most difficult period, which coincided with the country’s international crisis, however, the current state of the industry is rather stable.
It is also extremely fortunate that we succeeded in restoring relations with our partners, in particular with Alrosa, Russia’s largest diamond company. Upon negotiation, we were able to re-establish our traditional ties with this organization by agreeing to a long-term co-operation. As a result, the quantity of raw diamonds we imported last year surpassed the amount we brought in over the past few years, several times over. In 2011, Armenia imported approximately $45 million in raw diamonds, all of which were processed and exported. Now, those companies that comply with Alrosa’s standards will have the opportunity to significantly increase their supply of raw diamonds. So, over the past year or two, we’ve had a real sense of moving forward.

AJA: Finally, as the Armenian Minister of Economy and the primary player in the plans we’ve discussed, what are your wishes for our readers and international Armenian jewellers?
TD: AJA was the first international Armenian organization to unite representatives of different countries joined by a common trade, in our case, jewellery. Today, Armenians are spread around the globe, enjoying great success in many countries.
Jewellers of the Armenian Diaspora are united around one idea: contributing to the development of the jewellery industry in Armenia. Many of them are highly successful businesspeople who are ready to invest in Armenia to move the industry forward, however, they are not always ready to accept the implied risks. They often don’t have enough information on the Armenian economy or the specificities of its jewellery industry to make informed decisions. This does not have to be the case, and the AJA wants to help change it.
In closing, I would like to commend and extend my gratitude to all of our compatriots who have already invested in our country. The Armenian government is always ready to partake in constructive co-operation and to set in place the favourable conditions that will make that co-operation possible. I expect our Diasporas businesspeople to participate more actively in the development of the Armenian economy—I invite everyone to work with us. United strength is the key to success and the AJA is a brilliant example.

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Armenian Jewellers Association | Since 1998
Armenian Jewellers Association | Since 1998