Thursday, August 3 2017 16:36
Naira Badalian

Armenia creates CJSC "Free economic zone Meghri": launch dates are still vague

Armenia creates CJSC "Free economic zone Meghri": launch dates are  still vague

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.


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