ArmInfo. Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan received a delegation of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States of America that included co-chairmen of the commission on Armenian issues of Congress Frank Pallone, David Valadao and Jackie Spayer, Congressmen Anna Eshu, Talsi Gubard and James Sensenbrener. The sides discussed the Armenian- American economic agenda, as well as the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
The Prime Minister highly appreciated the work of US congressmen in the development and strengthening of Armenian-American friendly relations and thanked the United States Congress, especially the commission of the legislative body on Armenian issues, for providing external appropriations to Armenia and Artsakh.
The head of government discussed with US congressmen issues of economic cooperation between the two countries. From the point of view of investment promotion, the Prime Minister noted the importance of signing the Framework Agreement on Trade and Investment, as well as the inclusion of Armenia by the Congress and the US Government in the number of countries using the GSP system. Karen Karapetyan also considered the continued cooperation between Armenia and the United States in the field of information and high technologies, which already has a number of successful programs.
The parties exchanged views on improving the legal and regulatory framework for the trade and economic sphere, in particular, discussing issues related to the signing of an agreement on the exclusion of double taxation. In the context of further stimulating bilateral economic ties, Karen Karapetyan noted the importance of the active work of the Armenian-American intergovernmental commission.
The meeting also touched upon the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Karen Karapetyan stressed that Armenia sees the solution of the issue in an exclusively peaceful settlement and noted the importance of the constant efforts of the US as a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group in this process. "We are building our strategy so that we must be strong to ensure our security. I think that the events taking place in our region are very clear and transparent, and it will be useful for us if the international community, seeing all this, expresses its clear attitude, "the head of government said.
The GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) program was adopted in the US in 1974 with the aim of stimulating economic growth in developing countries. Within the system, the import of goods (about 3500 names) in the United States is carried out on preferential terms - in duty-free regime, from 129 countries, including Armenia. As Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments of Armenia Garegin Melkonyan told ArmInfo a week earlier, according to statistics, about 60% of Armenian exports to the US enjoy preferences within the GSP, which is quite a high indicator. To date, as the Deputy Minister noted, thanks to the Generalized System of Preferences, sufficient growth in trade with the United States has already been registered. In January-July, 2017, trade turnover increased by 38% to $ 91 million. At the same time, as Melkonyan pointed out, in the first half of this year exports recorded 66% growth and amounted to $ 35 million.
To note, the issue of excluding double taxation between Armenia and the US has been discussed for over 20 years - since 1994, the Armenian government has raised this issue. In 2000, during the Armenian- American intergovernmental meeting, this issue was raised again and since then preparatory work has been carried out, and negotiations have not started. Earlier, ArmInfo informed that in October Armenia will again propose the US to conclude a new agreement on this matter. Armenia has similar agreements with 47 countries, the last agreement was recently signed with Israel. The purpose of these agreements is to eliminate double taxation in foreign trade between two states, avoid tax discrimination with respect to economic entities of the parties, exclude double taxation on property and income, and create a predictable and stable tax environment for business.