“Armenia would be pleased to export processed meats to Turkey,” Arayik Makaryan, director of Global Armenia Businessin Andarag Ltd., told the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Tuesday after the India-Turkey-CIS Business Forum in Istanbul. “Business has limits and we are here to make business. For us politics has no priority at all.”
Vladimir Galstyan, president of the Armenian Sector Union of Farmers and Tanners, said his company exported 120,000 live cattle to Iran last year. “So why not to Turkey?” he asked.
Albert Ohanjanyan, a meat producer from Armenia, said his company is proposing to provide Turkey with 1,000 tons of fresh or frozen meat. “The border between the two countries should be opened as soon as possible [to enhance the meat trade],” he said.
As part of a tender by Turkey’s state-owned Meat & Fish Enterprise (EBK), 14,000 head of cattle, representing nearly 7,000 tons of meat, from Uruguay arrived in Turkey on Aug. 17.
EBK head Muhammet Kaya told the Anatolia news agency that the corporation had earlier announced a tender to buy 50,000 tons of livestock from abroad.
The Turkish government temporarily relaxed the tax on livestock imports from 135 percent to 40 percent until Dec. 31, 2010, to encourage imports in an attempt to balance skyrocketing red meat prices.
EBK decided to import livestock from the United States, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary, rather than neighboring countries. Due to long-lasting political disputes between Armenia and Turkey, trade between the two counties is typically done through third parties, such as Russia, Georgia or Iran, Ohanjanyan said.
Annually, Armenia exports 250 tons of rawhide to Turkey through Russia and Georgia and imports 25 percent of its processed leather from Turkey, he said, adding that the two countries are still trading with each other even though the border remains closed and political relations are still “wavy.”
“We also invite Turkish investors to build integrated meat plants in Armenia,” Ohanjanyan said, adding that Armenia has sufficient cattle stocks and could export processed meat to neighboring countries in collaboration with Turkish companies.
As of 2008, Armenia holds nearly 630,000 heads of cattle, of which 314,000 are cows, according to the “Regional Roadmap for West Eurasia” report written by Khachik Sargsyan and Satenik Khartyan. Even though Turkey has nearly 10.8 million head of cattle and nearly 21.7 million sheep and goats, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute, market demands, and consequently prices, remain high.