Leszek Balcerowiczis:

Armenian economy had better avoid booms

PanARMENIAN.Net - Leszek Balcerowiczis, Polish economist, former chairman of the National Bank of Poland and Deputy Prime Minister in Tadeusz Mazowiecki's government, who is famous for implementing the Polish economic transformation program, commonly known as shock therapy in the 1990s, visited Armenia lately to attend “Armenia after crisis: challenges and perspectives” conference. In an interview with PanARMENIAN.Net, Mr. Balcerowiczis commented on crisis-prevention tools and prospects of Armenian-Polish relations.
Which mechanisms can Poland advise Armenia to use to finally overcome the crisis?
I think economic policy resembles medicine. National income slump in some countries, like Armenia or Baltic states, is conditioned not only by global crisis but also by the consequences of a domestic boom. The Armenian boom was caused by huge foreign investments in construction industry. To avoid collapse, macroeconomists should be extremely cautious. It's also important to have a competitive private sector, especially in a small country like yours. Competition originates from foreign trade, with most dangerous monopolies appearing in the field of import. Armenia was right to set low taxes.

How do you assess the current level of relations between Armenia and Poland? In which fields can our countries cooperate?
Bilateral trade is dependent on economic growth of partners. Developing its economy, Armenia will increase its cooperation potential. Establishment of contacts between entrepreneurs is no less important. However, I do not outline any spheres of cooperation. Planning doesn't work. We should just offer cooperation opportunities to our businessmen.

What can you say about Armenian-Polish political dialogue?
I am a former politician. I do not represent any party or state agency. I believe that there is a historical link between Poland and Armenia. Polish people deeply respect the Armenian nation and it's a good potential for development.

What do you think about the Eastern Partnership? Will it prove efficient?
The most important goal is signature of a free trade agreement which can be achieved though economic development and implementation of reforms. It's hard to overestimate the significance of joining the European market and I believe that the essential reforms must be carried out.

Yekaterina Poghosyan / PanARMENIAN News