YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Ministry of Industry and Trade organized a roundtable discussion on Monday with numerous foreign investors. Eduard Eurnekian–an Argentinean entrepreneur of Armenian descent who heads the "Aeropuertos Argentina 2000" company–initiated and organized the meeting–according to Deputy Minister Tigran Davtian. The same day–Eurnekian signed a contract for a 50-year management of the Yerevan Zvartnots airport. In the first 5 years Eurnekian intends to invest $50 million to build a new facility at the airport and to render profitable services to the airport’s patrons.
Davtian said that investment in Armenia does not exceed the average investmen’s in the post-Soviet republics. According to him–since 1992–total amount invested in Armenia is $1 billion–and each year–close to $200 million is invested. There are approximately 2,000 foreign companies functioning in Armenia today–and none of them are inclined to leave the Armenia’s borders. Davtian also stated that in accordance with the law adopted by the parliament in 1994–foreign investors are provided with certain privileges. The parliament adopted several laws throughout the last ten years–allowing greater freedoms to investors and providing greater incentives for investment. Answering Eurnekian’s question–hotel complex representative Arman Manukian states that the absence of long-term investment is the most disheartening issue in Armenia. There also appears to be a variety of existing problems–including the absence of quality–service–dependable management–and the lack of the implementation of international standards.
Eurnekian stated that the Zvartnots airport is one of the finest pieces of Armenian architecture–but is unfit to carry out its primary functions. Zvartnots is a gate to Armenia. It is the visitors’ first impression of the country. Eurnekian also promised to work on developing tourism in Armenia. "Aeropuertos Argentina 2000" manages more than 33 airports–including a myriad of related services.
Eurnekian was upset with the fact that he had to pay $5 per minute for the long-distance call to Argentina. He said such exploitation is a deterrent to potential investors from doing business in Armenia. "Many things need to be drastically changed to attract more investors to Armenia," he concluded.