ArmInfo. On September 16, Minister of Economic Development and Investments of Armenia Suren Karayan, at the invitation of the Iranian side, visited the free economic zone "Aras" in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
According to the press service of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments, during the visit the Minister was accompanied and presented by the executive director of this zone Mohsen Arab Baggi to the units of the Iranian free economic zone "Aras". The delegation, headed by the Minister, visited the agricultural, industrial, commercial and tourist sites of the FEZ.
The delegation also included a number of businessmen from Armenia who established business contacts with their Iranian counterparts, and also discussed prospects for further cooperation. An agreement was reached to set up a business forum called Meghri-Aras, which will unite all interested Armenian and Iranian businessmen who want to cooperate in two free economic zones. The minister noted that in the near future a group of tourism representatives will travel to Iran to discuss the possibilities of developing regional tourism with their Iranian counterparts.
Minister of Economic Development and Investments Suren Karayan said in his speech that cooperation between the regions of Meghri and Aras could become a bridge for deepening the Armenian-Iranian economic cooperation. "There are all the prerequisites that the two free economic zones could cooperate and, most importantly, complement each other, becoming a regional economic center together." Together we are looking for ways to combine the two FEZs, which will help us achieve a more ambitious effect, " Karayan. The minister stressed the importance of joint production in the field of industry, which, according to the minister, will make the best use of the potential of both countries. "We hope that such mutual visits will contribute to the further development of the Armenian-Iranian trade and economic relations, and we are ready to share our experience in the field of construction and development of the free economic zone," said Mohsen Arab Baggi, Executive Director of the Aras zone.
It should be reminded that on August 3, the Government of Armenia approved the decision on the establishment of ZAO Meghri Free Economic Zone, the launch of which was previously announced 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 building 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 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 SEZ - more than 10 companies from Russia, there are also from Iran and Europe.
According to the Ministry of Economy, operation of the FEZ will create 2,500 jobs and increase exports from Armenia by 30%. The main goal of the SEZ 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 EEA countries and Georgia. It is assumed that 100-120 companies will operate there, whose revenues will reach $ 52 million over 10 years. The products are planned to 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 EAEC. In total, seven such zones will operate in the system of the duty-free system.