YEREVAN—Through the initiative of the Development Foundation of Armenia, and within the framework of the first Armenian-Italian Intergovernmental Commission Meeting, the Armenia-Italy Business Forum was held in the Italian capital of Rome, in order to establish and strengthen bilateral investment and business relations. The decision to establish the Commission was made during the official visit of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Paolo Jentiloni, in November 2016.
Around 26 Armenian businessmen presented their different business plans to 170 potential Italian business partners, and highlighted the investment sectors where profitable cooperation is possible. Meetings between interested companies were held to discuss investment projects and export opportunities for Armenian products. The success stories of Italian companies Renco and Sartis were also presented in the Forum.
“Now is a favorable time to invest in Armenia. The government is actively taking steps towards improving the business environment and eliminating bureaucratic obstacles. Our Foundation in particular is ready to provide practical support and consulting services to Italian businessmen at any stage of investment,” stated the CEO of the Development Foundation of Armenia Armen Avak Avakian, adding that the conference and B2B meetings were organized to present the country’s investment opportunities.
The agenda of the Armenia-Italy Forum included presentations on investment opportunities in the agro-processing, renewable energy, information and communication technology, footwear and textile, and tourism sectors.
During the forum, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Development Foundation of Armenia (DFA) and the Italian Trade Promotion Agency (ICE), which will promote further bilateral trade and economic relations. According to the Memorandum, the two parties agreed to promote the cooperation between the Armenian and Italian business sectors, and share information on business visits, exhibitions and upcoming events. Both parties will do everything possible to identify and eliminate barriers against bilateral trade and increasing investment.
The trade turnover between Armenia and Italy amounted to 160 million USD in 2016: 32 million USD in Armenian exports and $127.5 millionin imports. Last year Armenia mainly exported textile, clothing, aluminum foil, ethanol, liquor, plastic goods, automatic regulators and control devices to Italy. The imports from Italy mainly consisted of chocolate, confectionery, pasta, fabrics, central heating boilers and oil/petrolium products. Italy is Armenia’s 17th largest investment partner with 103.3 million AMD of investments in January-September 2016.