French companies expressed interest in investing in Armenia’s pharmaceutical and food industries, Minister of Economic Development and Investments Suren Karayan told journalists after a regular Cabinet session today. He said meetings were held with potential French investors during President Sargsyan’s visit to France earlier this month.

“I would not like to go into the details, but 2-3 French companies expressed interest and will soon visit Armenia to look into the possibilities of investing into local pharmaceutical and food industries,” Karayan said.

According to him, Armenia is attractive to foreign investors because of being able to serve as a good platform for reaching the multi-million dollar markets across the Eurasian Economic Union, and because of preferential trade regimes, it enjoys with the EU, the USA, Canada, Australia and some other countries.
At the same time, the minister disagreed with the journalists’ arguments that the French capital is leaving Armenia. They cited, particularly, the pullout of the mobile operator Orange (a division of France Telecom), and the contracting activity of Carrefour trade network.

“I do not agree with arguments that French companies are leaving Armenia. In the case of Orange, there was a sale transaction; as regards Carrefour it is still operating in Armenia, “Karayan said. He repeated a government announcement that it expects an investment of at least $ 850 million this year.

Earlier, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan stated that 341 investment projects worth about $3.2 billion were selected by the government following visits to the regions and discussions with the private sector. According to the Ministry of Finance, net flows of foreign investments to Armenia in the first 9 months of 2016 amounted to $56.1 million, and FDI amounted to $92.4 million.