Mark Pritchard: UK business presence will expand in Armenia

19.02.2018 | 11:15 Home / News / Interviews /
#Mark Pritchard
Last week British Trade Envoy to Armenia and Georgia, MP Mark Pritchard visited Armenia for the third time since his appointment in September 2017. He came as part of his commitment to explore opportunities for increasing the volume of trade and investment between the UK and Armenia.

During his visit, Mark Pritchard had meetings with high level officials of the government of Armenia and representatives of leading businesses.

Mediamax talked to Mark Pritchard on current stand of Armenia-UK relations and future opportunities.

Mr. Pritchard, this is already your 3rd visit to Armenia since September 2017. How would you assess the level of Armenia-UK trade relations nowadays?

Trade and investment relations between Armenia and UK are very good but could be a lot better. Of course, the British Embassy, our excellent Ambassador and diplomatic team do a lot, but my appointment, I think, underlines British governments’ commitment to increase trade and investment volumes.

UK companies have a lot to offer to Armenian market. The tax and regulatory environment should be attractive. Government needs to continue with business reforms and eliminating corruption. When the British business does invest here it should be ensured that if there are disputes, either arbitration or commercial courts have an independent judiciary and is making fair and objective decisions, based on domestic and international norms and laws.

Do you think there is still unused potential in trade relations between the two countries?

Absolutely! Our presence can expand and will expand.

In retail we have lots of successful brands here – Marks and Spencer, Monsoon, Accessorize and others are doing well in Armenia.

I have been in discussions with local companies back in the UK on how we can expand presence of British brands in Armenia. UK capital is already here in pharmaceutical, mining, education, design and consultancy. We will be looking to bring a trade mission to Armenia on the first week of June.

What are the current challenges that UK businesses may face while entering Armenian market?

It’s important for any British investor to be in transparent business environment in Armenia. The government works hard now introducing reforms that will allow businesses feel confident about their ability to transact businesses here whether in services or goods. Those reforms are important.

I hope the constitutional changes happening in Armenia will ensure that business reforms will continue.
Armenia has a highly educated workforce but the government would like to have more people in work. British companies have been partnering with private sector and making sure that the human capital in Armenia is fully utilized. Educated workforce, whether in IT or engineering, design and consultancy work alongside British businesses to make investment sustainable for middle and long-term periods.

How welcoming is UK market for foreign businesses? And what should Armenian business people know before entering that market?

Armenia has an excellent Ambassador in UK. If he becomes the next President of Armenia that would be helpful for Armenia’s understanding of UK and UK’s understanding of Armenia. We have to wait and see what the people of Armenia decide.

The opportunity for Armenian businesses is positive. The new partnership agreement with the EU has been helpful, and still more trade and investment can be done for the pre-Brexit period. However, post-Brexit will bring more opportunities to trade with the UK.

Can you comment on the role of HSBC in Armenian banking system? By the way, the bank has been running at a loss recently. What do you think is the reason for that?

HSBC has been here for a very long time and is committed to Armenia. Banks have times of harvest and times of famine. I don’t think that HSBC is in a kind of famine now, but locally it may not be doing as well as it would like to. Banks have ups and downs like all the businesses.

I met with a senior manager of HSBC on this visit and I understood that they are completely committed not only to stay in Armenia but to expand their market share, and I wish them success.

HSBC has been in other countries in the region and withdrew from there, while they are still here in Armenia. Having a strong bank in the region, based in Yerevan, sends an important message to the region.

What’s your opinion about Lydian International, which is biggest investor in Armenia today? Some groups often raise concerns that Lydian’s activities have environmental risks.

Lydian has invested huge amount of money here, and most importantly, lots of people. It’s bringing a real contribution to the economy of Armenia. On the environmental side, whether it’s a big or a small company, there are always tensions between mining and environmentalists. That’s nothing new and will probably never change. But companies and countries need to progress and I understand that Lydian has the highest standards of environmental protection in all their business dealings.

Mining companies will always have their critics. But Lydian has done its utmost and will continue to do the best to make sure the company meets the highest environmental standards of Armenia.

Narine Daneghyan talked to Mark Pritchard
Views 16776
Կարծիքներ

Հարգելի այցելուներ, այստեղ դուք կարող եք տեղադրել ձեր կարծիքը տվյալ նյութի վերաբերյալ` օգտագործելուվ Facebook-ի ձեր account-ը: Խնդրում ենք լինել կոռեկտ եւ հետեւել մեր պարզ կանոներին. արգելվում է տեղադրել թեմային չվերաբերող մեկնաբանություններ, գովազդային նյութեր, վիրավորանքներ եւ հայհոյանքներ: Խմբագրությունն իրավունք է վերապահում ջնջել մեկնաբանությունները` նշված կանոնները խախտելու դեպքում:


iTel
Mediamax
Sport
Bravo