12, 2017

Remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan at New Year and Christmas holidays-dated gala reception for business community representatives

 Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Businessmen,

I cordially welcome you to the Presidential Palace of the Republic of Armenia. I am glad that meetings like this have become a good tradition. In the run-up to the New Year, we come together, congratulate and wish success to one another.

First of all, I wish your families could enjoy a lot of love, mutual understanding and respect in 2018. I also wish that each of you might have a feeling of happiness and satisfaction in 2018. It is very important for our country and our society as it is no secret that your success means economic growth, new jobs, and wellbeing.

I want you to build on the achievements we had in 2017. I expect you to not only carry on your business, but to expand it and become the conceivers of new ideas and new initiatives. Therefore, I believe there are two necessary conditions: first of all, your aspiration, diligence, your time to think, and secondly, mutual trust and cooperation with the government.

I think that 2017 can be described as a year of cooperation between the government’s economic departments and the business community. In this respect, all of you must be satisfied, because on January 1, 2018, the new Tax Code and the EAEU Customs Code will come into effect, and you will all see and probably you have already been convinced that almost all your comments and suggestions, voiced during official or informal meetings, have been taken into account.

I am confident that we will have far better results in 2018, because we have provided all the necessary prerequisites in 2017 to close the year with satisfactory growth. I do not want to make predictions, but I think we will boast more than 6% economic growth next year.

Thank God, the coefficient of economic activity is sufficiently high. Over the past 11 months, we have had an unprecedented export index equivalent of 2 billion U.S. dollars, which makes 20 percent of GDP. We have never had such a high index before.

Our trade turnover has overrun the threshold of USD 6 billion over the past 11 months, I mean foreign trade, but what matters most is that structural changes have taken place: in 2012-2013, we had about 6 billion dollar-worth foreign trade turnover, with the index of ready-made food exports standing at 12-13%, while it is 25% now. This is a very good and important indicator. It is obvious that such indicators have a positive impact on financial and macroeconomic stability.

You can see that for the first time over many years, our good old Armenian dram has not been subject to any pressure; on the contrary, it is attempting to improve its position.

Everything is interconnected, and I think that the main role in this chain is yours. Therefore, I urge you to continue working at the same or higher pace, especially considering that the new Constitution will become effective in early 2018. But I expect you to be an important part of our society so that you, too, could improve your work in many ways.

I suggest that in 2018, we all should make sure that the non-formal, non-documented turnover has been minimized. We have agreed with the Prime Minister and the government that we should do our utmost to have fully streamlined business documentation in 2018. This is in the best interest of all of us, including you, the State, the Army, our teachers and everyone else.

I call on you to go that way without having to be prompted by others. We, too, will do our utmost to cooperate for good, and not just the way an inspector or an enforcing authority and business people would do.

Once again, I wish you all robust health, good luck, and let me repeat, very long moments of contentment. This is crucial in our work.

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!

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