ArmInfo. The free economic zone in Meghri on the border with Iran will be launched in November. Answering the question of ArmInfo, Minister of Economic Development and Investments of Armenia Suren Karayan said on August 31 after the government session. The Minister recalled that recently, at the invitation of the Ministry of Economy, the chief adviser of the Iranian president visited Armenia, who is also the chairman of the Council of all the FEZ of Iran, during which the Memorandum on the establishment of a working group and cooperation between the FEZ in Meghri and "Aras" in the Islamic Republic of Iran was signed. The memorandum, as indicated by the minister, will allow for closer cooperation between the FEZs of the two countries. "Already in November we plan to start the activities of the Meghri FEZ," Karayan explained. Earlier - on August 21 the head of the Armenian government Karen Karapetyan informed that a certain specifics on the terms of the creation of the Free Economic Zone with Iran will appear after the visit to Iran. According to him, already at the end of November a certain platform will be formed. "In this issue, we went through a lot - both successful negotiations and unsuccessful ones, but the platform will be uniquely created, and more specifically the issue will be discussed in the near future during the visit to Iran," Karapetyan said.
On August 3, the Government of Armenia approved the draft decision on the establishment of Meghri Free Economic Zone, which was launched earlier in October 2017. At the first stage, it is planned to equip the territory adjacent to the Meghri checkpoint, and also to form physical infrastructures. This will be followed by the provision of appropriate privileges and the involvement of companies in the FEZ.
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 EEA, 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.