The signing of an EU Association Agreement by Georgia will, to a certain degree, affect also that country’s relations with Armenia, as both states will be in different customs zones after Armenia’s accession to the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, says Alik Eroyants, an expert in Georgian affairs.
According to him, the differences in the customs regulations are also expected to give way to a conflict of interests.
“With regard to the Armenia-Georgia cooperation per se, predicting serious negative changes is difficult; it is better to avoid such concerns, because the high-level relations between the two countries have the necessary potential to relieve and weaken future possible problems and obstacles with the help of negotiations,” he told Tert.am.
Noting that the free trade agreement between the two countries is in effect, the expert said he thinks that the mutual willingness to overcome and reduce the existing problems is the most important thing for the sides to continue the collaboration in that format.
He described the association deal as a major success for Georgia on the way of overcoming most different problems. “But that’s for future,” he said, “as the signing of the agreement may create lots of problems for Georgia until they finally get adapted to [the new political situation]. So Georgia has a long way to pass in the frameworks of the Association Agreement,” he added.
Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova signed EU Association Agreements on Friday in a move that’s thought to be strongly opposed by Russia.
Vazgen Safaryan, the president of the Domestic Commodity Producers’ Union, said he thinks the deal will be limited only to a political association. “To the best of my knowledge, the Russian market will be close for Ukrainian products. And that means that the Ukrainian goods, which have freely paved their way to Russia thanks to the free trade agreement, can no longer be there. So the problem is political for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. They will not be able to realize their goods in Europe,” he noted.
As for the future of the Armenian-Georgian economic partnership, Safaryan said he doesn’t expect the two countries’ presence in different economic areas to be a cause of conflicts. He stressed the need of adopting more flexible policies that would help the sides initiate joint ventures. “The two countries have to pursue flexible policies to export the Georgian agricultural produce to the Russian market through us and enable us to use the Georgian routes,” he explained.
Safaryan did not rule out the possibility of Armenian investments in the Georgian market. “But I do not see any prospects of realizing ready-made products, especially agricultural produce, in the European market in the short run,” he added.