Commodity structure of imports in Armenia in 2020

In 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the whole world descended into crisis, which had a negative impact on almost all sectors of the economy.

One of the most affected sectors of the economy was trade.

Being part of the global economy, Armenia was also affected, and completed year 2020 with a 13.2 percent decline in foreign trade. In 2019 foreign trade amounted to $ 8 billion 186 million, and last year it declined by about $ 1․1 billion, amounting to $ 7 billion 104 million.

Imports by months

In January of last year, when the coronavirus wave had not yet spread around the world, Armenia’s imports exceeded the indicators in the same period in 2019 by 2.3%. In all other months, the imports decreased compared to the same period of 2019.

The decline in imports was more obvious in April (33․1%) and in the last quarter of the year (average decline of 25․8%). The decrease in imports in April was due to stricter restrictions because of COVID-19, and the main reason for the decline in imports in October-December was the war in Artsakh.

Commodity structure of imports

As in previous years, in 2020, appliances and equipment – $ 874 million (1% increase), and mining products, mostly oil and gas – $ 745 million (-8.5%), had a huge share in the goods imported by Armenia. Other major commodity groups include chemical industry products – $ 415 million (-11.9%), ready-to-eat food – $ 394 million (-9.9%), non-precious metals, stones and their products – $ 358 million (+ 3.5%), products of plant origin – $ 255 million (+ 8.7%), and textiles – $ 244 million (-19.9%).

As can be seen, the volumes of imports of almost all commodity groups have decreased compared to 2019, with the exception of products of plant origin (+8.7%), various industrial products (+5.7%), non-precious metals and articles made of them (+3․5%), and equipment (+1%).

In contrast to exports, the list of Armenia’s trading partners in terms of imported goods is much larger and more diverse, but the main direction remains the EAEU. As for the commodity groups that registered a decline in import volumes, the import of land vehicles decreased by about 75% last year (compared to 2019) due to the application of the EAEU Common Customs Tariffs. The import of precious and semi-precious stones, precious metals and items made of them decreased significantly. Armenia mainly imports diamonds from this commodity group, and as a result of the significant reduction in diamond imports (34%), the import of this commodity group decreased by more than 2 times. Imports of textiles decreased by about 20%.

Geography of imports

In contrast to other directions, the volume of goods imported from the EAEU increased slightly last year (by 0․1%).

In 2019, goods worth $ 1707 million purchased from the EAEU accounted for 30.8% of imports, and last year goods worth $ 1708 million were imported from these countries, which is 37.5% of imports.

Naturally, most of these goods ($ 1640 million) come from the Russian Federation, which accounts for about 96% of the goods imported from the EAEU countries.

Armenia imports oil, gas, food, care products, crude aluminum and gold, cars, their parts, medicines, and etc. from EAEU countries.

About 20․3% of goods imported to Armenia come from EU member states. Last year, goods worth $ 926 million were imported from EU countries, which is more than $ 190 million less than in 2019. Among the EU member states, our main trading partners are Germany – $ 237 million (5․2%), Italy – $ 167 million (3․7%), France – $ 67 million (1․5%), the Netherlands – $ 66 million (1․4%), Belgium – 51 million dollars (1․1%) and Poland – 48 million dollars (1%). In 2020, imports from almost all EU member states decreased. An exception is France, since imports from this country increased by 2.5% compared to 2019.

Imports from Belgium and the Netherlands decreased by more than 40% and about 50% respectively.

Armenia mainly purchases medicine and medical equipment, textile industry products, calculating machines, animal feed, diamonds, processing industry equipment, construction materials, agricultural machinery, crops, seeds, and etc. from the EU countries.

Apart from the EAEU and EU member states, Armenia imports goods from other countries not included in these unions. Compared to 2019, last year the import of goods from other countries significantly decreased. In 2019, more than $ 2 billion 700 million worth of goods were imported from these countries, but last year the imports made only $ 1 billion 925 million.

Of these countries, Armenia imports the most goods from China – $ 437 million (9.6% of imports), Georgia – $ 323 million (7.1%) and the Islamic Republic of Iran – $ 316 million (6.9%). Quite a large amount of goods are imported from the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, the United States, and etc. Imports from these countries also decreased compared to 2019. The volume of goods imported from the United States decreased by about 5 times, the main reason for which, perhaps, were the common customs rates which entered into force since January 1, 2020, becoming a serious obstacle to the import of vehicles from this country.

Armenia mainly imports oil products, metal products, crude gold and diamonds, polyethylene, vehicles and spare parts, electrical equipment, telephones, knitwear, fertilizers, cigarettes, citrus fruits, and etc. from non-EU and EAEU countries.

Sevada Ghazaryan

Union of Informed Citizens


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