ArmInfo. Ministry of Economic Development and Investments plans to launch work on establishing free economic zone with Iran till April 2017, Minister Suren Karayan informed at the final press conference on December 28.
According to the Minister a Concept on creating free economic zone has been developed and has been presented to the Armenian government. It is expected that till April next year work on founding SEZ in Armenian Meghri near the border with Iran will be launched. "This initiative will allow to attract new business ideas and activate trade turnover between Armenia and Iran", Karayan stated.
At the same time the Minister admitted that there have been certain difficulties in the context of common Customs Code of the EEU but as of today they are solved. "EEU Customs Code did not envisage borderline FEZ between Armenia and Iran but the issue was solved" he clarified.
To note, an agreement on establishing a FEZ on Armenian-Iranian border in Meghri region was reached back in the Q2 2016 during the last meeting between Prime Ministers of EEU countries in Sochi. Former Prime Minister of Armenia Hovik Abrahamyan stated that this is a very significant project, which opens new opportunity for development of our economy. At the same time the former Prime Minister noted that the project is also important in the context of regional development. "Development of regions is one of our priorities and the new free economic zone will boost development of Meghri. New jobs and prospects will open", Abrahamyan mentioned. According to him the program will allow Iran to open new joint enterprises with EEU member states in Meghri FEZ and to export duty-free products to EEU countries.
On December 22 the government approved Agreement on EEU Customs Code and Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan mentioned the importance of the fact that Armenia's right to establish FEZ on the border with Iran was fixed in the Customs Code.
According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, trade turnover between Armenia and Iran fell 14% y-o-y to 198.9 mln USD in Jan-Oct 2016, as import fell 18.2% to 133.9 mln USD and export - 3.8% to 65mln USD. No significant Iranian investments were made in the economy of Armenia.