YEREVAN — Armenian exports to Russia declined by 7 percent in the first nine months of this year, according to the data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

This is the first time such a decrease has been observed in years. Thus, the figures for similar periods of 2012 and 2013 showed exports from Armenia to Russia growing by 21 and 24 percent, respectively.

Russia is Armenia’s second largest trading partner after the European Union.

Earlier this year the government in Yerevan hoped to capitalize on the new export potentialities in the Russian market after Moscow retaliated to Western sanctions by banning imports of certain foodstuffs from EU member countries.

At a news briefing last Friday, for example, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian said: “We are working with all relevant agencies, supporting our manufacturers, we are going to try to increase our exports to Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. In my opinion, we will be successful in that area.”

Kazakhstan and Belarus, along with Russia, are the founding members of the Eurasian Economic Union. Armenia signed a relevant treaty last month to become a member of the Moscow-led trade bloc that is going to be formally launched next year.

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