ArmInfo. The first meeting of the U.S.-Armenia Council on Trade and Investment started in Yerevan on November 17. The U.S. delegation is headed by Betsy Hafner, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative. She says the discussion will reveal not only the current problems and challenges, but also the potential of the U.S.-Armenia cooperation.
In his opening remarks, Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan said that the event will give a fresh impetus to development of the trade and economic relations and will become an important platform for dialogue. Abrahamyan stressed the need to improve the business and
investment environment for development of Armenian economy and recalled that Armenia is conducting an "open door" policy, due to which investments are secured and protected by the law. "I am sure the new stage of development of the Armenian-U.S. relations will contribute to closer cooperation between the public and private sectors of our countries, establishment of new areas of mutually beneficial cooperation and expansion of the friendly relations between the states," he said.
Armenian Economy Minister Karen Chshmarityan, in turn, pointed out that following the reforms, Armenia was given a high ranking from the international rating agencies. "As compared to last year, this year Armenia's position in Doing Business 2016 rose by 10 points to the 35th position among 189 countries," said the minister. He added that Armenia keeps exerting consistent efforts to improve the legislative framework, create free conditions for conducting business and
enhancing transparency in the relationship between the state and the private business.
To note, during the first meeting of the Armenia-U.S. Council on Trade and Investment, a day-long session will cover a wide range of issues, including intellectual property rights, customs clearances, technical barriers to trade, sanitary measures, investment promotion efforts, private sector engagement, government procurement, WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and environmental and labor issues.
Participating in the meeting are Armenian Minister of Economy Karen Chshmarityan, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Betsy Hafner, U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Armenia Richard Mills, representatives of the ministries and other
structures, as well as nearly 60 businessmen.
On 7 May 2015, Armenia and the United States signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (called a TIFA). The TIFA established the Armenia-U.S. Council on Trade and Investment. It is this newly-established TIFA Council that will hold very detailed discussions that are specifically focused on the trade relationship and what are some of the barriers to Armenians trading and investing in the U.S. and to Americans trading and investing in Armenia.