ArmInfo. Development of economic ties with Iran is among the priorities of the Republic of Armenia. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stated this in an interview with the influential Iranian newspaper Sharh on the eve of his visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
According to the head of the republic, the activities of the Armenian-Iranian intergovernmental commission are aimed at expanding trade and economic cooperation and the volume of bilateral trade. In this contaxt, according to Sargsyan, the functioning of the free economic zone in the Syunik region of Armenia can be favorable. The FEZ, located on the border with Iran, according to the head of state, will best serve to deepen interstate cooperation and strengthen ties between the Armenian and Iranian businesses.
As noted Serzh Sargsyan, Armenia is ready, by virtue of its capabilities, to contribute multifaceted support to the Iranian business in Armenia. According to Sargsyan, the Armenian and Iranian joint ventures are more competitive than each individually taken.
In addition, as the president stressed, Armenia pursues an open door policy in terms of attracting investments to the country. He reminded that the RA is a member of the World Trade Organization, which means non-discriminatory treatment of local and foreign entrepreneurs. Armenia also implements the policy of industrial development, within the framework of which it is planned to expand cooperation with neighboring countries, in particular, with the Islamic Republic of Iran. In this context, Armenia attaches great hopes to the development of Armenian-Iranian business ties within the FEZ framework in Meghri.
The President noted positive developments in the field of banking cooperation as a result of the weakening of the sanctions regime against Iran. "I think that soon we will witness an increase in the level of cooperation in this direction," stressed Serzh Sargsyan.
Earlier it was reported that the total cost of construction of FEZ in Meghri is estimated at $ 32 million, of which $ 28 million is capital expenditure. The construction of the FEZ on the border with Iran is one of the priority investment programs of the Armenian government and provides for the establishment of free economic zone with an area of 10-15 hectares, with the possibility of subsequent expansion to 45-50 hectares. Despite the fact that the FEZ has not yet been built, there are already numerous applications from various companies that have expressed a desire to start work in the FEZ - more than 10 companies from Russia, there are also from Iran and Europe. According to the Ministry of Economy, exploitation of the FEZ will create 2,500 jobs and increase exports from Armenia by 30%. The main goal of the FEZ is the development of trade and economic relations with Iran and other countries of the region, the development of the Syunik region, as well as the positioning of Armenia as a link linking Iran with the EEU countries and Georgia. It is assumed that 100-120 companies will operate there, whose revenues will reach $ 52 million over 10 years. The products will be exported to Iran, the countries of the EEU, the Middle East, Turkmenistan and others. The total investment of all companies for 10 years is planned to increase to $ 350-400 million. The functioning of the FEZ has already been legislated in the Customs Code of the EEU. In total, seven such zones will operate in the system of duty-free in the EEU.
Armenia's foreign trade turnover in the first half of 2017 was 1363.5 billion AMD or $ 2.815 billion with annual growth of 24%. During the reporting period, trade with Iran amounted to $ 114.4 million with an annual growth of 0.4%. At the same time, exports amounted to $ 34.7 million, a decline of 9.3%, imports - $ 79.7 million, with growth of 5.3%.