Armenia and China enjoy broad prospects of cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an Armenian expert said in a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency here.
“The New Armenian Government has declared the start of an economic revolution. The country needs to participate in global economic initiatives, and the BRI is one of the largest,” said Mher Sahakyan, Head of the “China-Eurasia” Council for Political & Strategic Research Foundation, adding that Armenia should fully make use of the opportunity to expand economic cooperation with China and attract investment.
The just ended Second Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing is “not a unilateral program, but an initiative in which all countries could introduce their own business plans for cooperation,” he said.
Within the initiative, Armenia and China can enlarge cooperation in many fields, for example, agriculture, commodity trade, air transportation and building free trade zones, he said.
“It is advisable to start negotiations with China to become a full-fledged regional member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB),” and this would create opportunities for Armenia to get a loan to finance infrastructure projects, such as its North-South highway and the Iran-Armenia railway.
Armenia’s small and medium-sized enterprises that import Chinese products and technologies will also be benefited, the expert said.
“The BRI provides a wide range of opportunities for bilateral relations. The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and China have signed a trade and economic partnership agreement. Yerevan should study the agreement and find points which can be useful for the improvement of Armenian-Chinese relations,” he said.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa through the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.
So far, some 126 countries and 29 international organisations have signed cooperation documents with China.
During the forum in late April, a total of 283 items of practical outcomes were achieved and cooperation agreements worth more than 64 billion US dollars were signed.