ArmInfo. On August 3, the Armenian government approved the draft decision on the establishment of CJSC Meghri Free Economic Zone during the meeting. FEZ in Meghri, the launch of which was previously announced in October 2017, today cannot announce both potential investors and possible operators of the zone.
Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments Garegin Melkonyan, presenting the document, noted that within three months the company's charter will be approved, an executive body is formed and state registration is carried out.
In fact, as stated after the government session, Garegin Melkonyan, responding to the question of ArmInfo, the creation of the FEZ will be carried out in stages. At the first stage, it is planned to equip the territory adjacent to the Meghri checkpoint, as well as the formation of physical infrastructures. This will be followed by the provision of appropriate privileges and the involvement of companies in the FEZ. In general, this initiative should be considered in the context of regional development, in particular, stimulation of economic activity in Syunik region, he noted.
Garegin Melkonyan recalled that recently the weakening of the sanctions regime against Iran has become noticeable, in connection with which the Western countries began to show some interest in the issue of investing in an Islamic country. "In this context, Armenia is trying to create a favorable environment, so that the companies, having settled here, could work with Iran," the deputy minister said.
As for investors interested in participating in the project to create a free economic zone in Meghri, then, as Melkonyan noted, for investors to work in the free economic zone, it must have a physically differentiated territory, the necessary conditions for ensuring the customs regime. "Soon, when these works are completed, we will turn to the stage of attracting the operators of FEZ," he said. The deputy minister also refrained from mentioning the exact terms of the anticipated launch of the FEZ.
To recall, the Government of Armenia at the meeting on March 30 approved the company that organized the construction of the Free Economic Zone in Syunik on the border with Iran, thus giving a "green light" to its construction. "As early as autumn of 2017, the launch of FEZ will be possible," Minister of Economic Development and Investments of the Republic of Armenia Suren Karayan stated at the time. According to an early statement by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Armenian government received numerous applications from local, Russian, Iranian and European companies to obtain the status of an operator of the FEZ. At the same time, for today the departmental representatives refrain from mentioning concrete names and countries interested in financial participation in the project.
The total cost of construction of FEZ in Meghri is estimated at $ 32 million, of which $ 28 million is capital expenditure. The construction of a free economic zone on the border with Iran is one of the priority investment programs of the Armenian government and provides for the creation of a free economic zone with an area of 10-15 hectares, with the possibility of further 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.