The Tavush Delegation in Lebanon

On 6-10 May, a delegation headed by H. Chobanyan, the Governor of the Tavush Region, visited Lebanon. Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan, Primate of Tavush Diocese, and Hasmik Azibekyan, President of the “Community Center for Development” Territorial Cooperation NGO were included in the delegation. The visit was organized by the initiative of the Founding Director of “Gardenia Grain D’or” company, Nicolas Abou Fayssal, and with the assistance of Vahagn Atabekyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of RA to Lebanon. The aim of the visit was to get acquainted with the unique features of the entities involved in the fields of agriculture, industry and tourism and to find effective ways for cooperation with Armenian companies.

The visit started with a meeting with the representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture of Lebanon. Chadi Mohanna, Director of Rural Development and Natural Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Lebanon, presented the details of the state strategy for livestock farming, horticulture and environmental protection in Lebanon and in Beqaa Province in particular, as well as provided information on the activities carried out by private entities and farms. The Tavush Governor presented the perspective branches of the Tavush Region in the field of agriculture, highlighting the importance of modern effective technologies. The Governor also welcomed Lebanese companies’ interest towards the Tavush Region and expressed readiness to cooperate with the Ministry to support mutual investments in production and processing of agricultural products.

The next meeting of the delegation was at the Ministry of Industry of Lebanon. Mr. Dany Gedeon, General Director of the Ministry of Industry, taking into consideration the mutual interest of the representatives of the field in experience exchange and cooperation, highlighted the need for creating an online platform where Armenian and Lebanese manufacturers and representatives of ministries could organize discussions and share their experience. He also added that the Association of Lebanese Industrialists is ready to participate in similar events. Tavush Governor Hayk Chobanyan presented the current and perspective branches of the region’s industry, noting that the region currently uses about 20% of the available resources and the development of the sector will have revolutionary progress in case of relevant investments. He also highlighted the necessity of organizing exhibition-sales.

The Tavush delegation’s next meeting was at the Ministry of Economy and Trade of Lebanon. During the meeting, the Tavush Governor presented the commercial and economic advantages of the region due to its geographical location. He also pointed out tax privileges to manufacturers in border communities. Alia Abbas, General Director of Economy and Trade, mentioned the growing interest of Lebanese businessmen in exporting Lebanese products or importing Armenian goods. In this light, she noted the importance and necessity for an Armenia -Lebanon Free Trade Zone. She proposed to discuss the issue at the government level and expressed readiness to submit a written offer to be presented to the Armenian government.

The delegation from Tavush also had a meeting with the Minister of Tourism of Lebanon Mr. Avedis Guidanian. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the peculiarities of the tourism industry in Lebanon and to highlight the ways of cooperation between the Lebanese tourism companies and similar service providers in the Tavush region of Armenia. The Minister said that over the past three years the number of Lebanese tourists to Armenia has doubled, and it is noteworthy that there are many non-Armenians among the travelers. The minister noted at the same time that the number of visits from Lebanon to Georgia exceeds the number of visits to Armenia. He proposed to include a 1-2-day trip to Tavush in the tour packages to Georgia, taking into consideration the fact that the region is close to the Georgian border. The proposal was approved and an agreement was reached to elaborate joint visit packages and offer Lebanese tourists in future. The Minister also expressed readiness to participate in the “My Step for Tavush” conference to be held in Dilijan on June 22-23.

Delegation members also visited a number of large factories, including “Berdawni”, a mineral water producing company, “Junet”, a natural juice production company, and “Somoplast” a company engaged in plastic products manufacturing. Visits were also paid to the Armenian-populated community of Anjar, and to Armenian cultural and educational centers in Lebanon.