The 2022 Dutch-Armenian Business Summit will be held today in Yerevan, Armenia.
Talks will focus on furthering Dutch investment in the commercial, construction, agriculture, and technology sectors. It comes as part of Europe’s attempts to expand influence in the Caucasus region through the mediation of Armenia-Azerbaijan tensions. While Armenia is normally seen as pro-Russian when compared to pro-Turkish Azerbaijan and pro-Western Georgia, it has maintained neutrality in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. This neutral stance indicates its close ties with Russia have partially cooled and that Armenia wishes to avoid the effect of Western sanctions. Further Dutch investment in Armenia is likely to be complemented by investments from other EU member states.
While Armenia lacks the oil and natural gas reserves of neighboring Azerbaijan, it has significant gold and copper reserves. Gold is particularly important for Europe as the EU looks to extend existing bans on Russian oil onto Russian gold, diversifying import sources. This will also further target Russian export revenue – Russian gold exports form its second largest export revenue source after energy. Therefore, expect the Dutch delegation to lay the foundation for increased EU-Armenian trade focused on gold exports.
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Cian is a Research Analyst and contributes to both Analysis and the Daily Brief. He specializes in Australian and European geopolitics with a particular interest in the strategic autonomy of the EU.