The leaders of the UAE and Armenia have developed a close working relationship, which is beginning to bear fruit in the form of boosted trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries. Even so, Armenia’s president believes enormous potential exists to extend bilateral relations further
Armenia and the UAE are separated by a mere three-hour flight within the same time zone, and as both countries embrace globalisation, bolstering bilateral relations has become a priority. In November 2017, President Serzh Sargsyan made an official state visit to the UAE and returned in the spring of 2017 to attend the Armenia-UAE Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi, where he and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, continued their discussions about the mutual benefits of strengthening ties.
These meetings led to the establishment of a visa-free regime for UAE citizens and Armenians travelling to either country as well as a new agreement to encourage and protect investments.
Serzh Sargsyan, President of Armenia
“The result in 2017 was that our trade turnover exceeded $200 million. I believe this is just a small volume of the huge untapped potential that exists for economic cooperation – only about 15% to 20%. Therefore, we will continue to draw closer and spare no effort in further fostering our relations with the UAE in all possible areas,” says President Sargsyan.
Armenia seeks a broad relationship, ranging from plans to attract more Emirates-based tourists to tie-ups in technology, pharmaceuticals, food processing and using the country’s mild climate and ample water supplies to provide fresh food produce for the UAE market.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan at the 2017 Armenia-UAE Investment Forum. Photo: Office of the President
According to the Embassy of Armenia to the UAE, around 6,000 Armenians live in the Emirates and an increasingly dynamic business fabric between the two countries is starting to flourish, exemplified by the leading roles played by Armenian entrepreneurs at the first Seaside Startup Summit in Ras al-Khaimah in February. Plans have also been announced for the construction of an Armenian trade centre in Sharjah.
Armenia’s government believes that Emirati authorities and business circles gain confidence from the depth of traditionally good Armenian-Arab relations, while also appreciating the value of a platform within the Russia-dominated Eurasian Economic Union.