ArmeniaNow Traders who import goods from Turkey are puzzled about recent extreme hikes in customs clearance charges, and especially in terms of shipping, the government reports.
Anna Ghazanchyan, who deals with Turkish clothes trade for almost eight years, says that nothing else has become more expensive which could result in the increase in shipping prices.
“Both the hotel and bus prices have remained the same; there is no petrol price rise either. That is why we have no idea what the reason [of the rise in customs clearance charges] is,” she says.
If the customs clearance charges do not drop, Ghazanchyan sees no other way out than doubling clothes prices, however, she is doubtful whether anyone would buy her product in that case.
“Customs fees had suddenly been doubled - from $4 to $8 per kilo for imports [from Turkey], so I have to raise clothes prices twice, but in this case, people will simply not buy them. My customers come to my shop and, seeing the price hike, do not buy anything,” says the concerned woman, who, as many Armenian merchants, constantly takes credits from trade banks, paying high interest rates.
Traders, who keep their business at the expense of credits, say that the current situation may result in their bankruptcy.
“Go to banks and you will see how much credits representatives of small and middle-sized business have. What shall those people do? They have to sell their goods at low prices in order to be able to pay off the bank interest rates, and they crash [become bankrupt],” says trader Karine, who refused to tell her last name.
“We have turned to the National Assembly, if there is no positive solution then we will really protest,” says Karine, who is sure that the hike in customs clearance charges has not been done without the government’s interference.
Traders say that they mainly cooperate with Caucasus Tour, Aznar Tour, David Tour, Karlen Tour, Narine and other shipping companies; moreover, there is information that the initiator of the price hike is Karlen Tour – the most major among these companies.
ArmeniaNow tried to contact these companies; however, their officials were either absent or refused to give an interview.