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Armenia Attracts 'Unexpected' Interest From Foreign Investors Amid T

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  • Armenia Attracts 'Unexpected' Interest From Foreign Investors Amid T

    ECONOMY | 19.02.14 | 10:37


    ArmeniaNow correspondent

    Before Armenia has completed negotiations with the Customs Union
    and become its member interest towards it from foreign investors and
    businessmen has unexpectedly risen.

    The first major American investment - the purchase of the Vorotan
    cascade of hydro-power plants generating 15 percent of electricity in
    Armenia - was announced only a month ago. Recently it was reported
    that a major international conference on the mining industry in
    Armenia will be held in March. In this regard, Prime Minister Tigran
    Sargsyan met with the ambassadors of the United States, Great Britain,
    Germany and the head of the World Bank Yerevan Office. This year, a
    British company plans to begin operation of the largest gold deposit
    in Amulsar. Apparently, there is interest in other fields as well.

    China has also shown interest in Armenia. Members of the Central
    Committee of the Communist Party of China came to Armenia to explore
    opportunities for cooperation. They are considering the possibility of
    exports to China of Armenian brandy and tobacco. And the Chinese side
    plans to enter Armenia's aviation market, the sphere of information
    technologies and communications.

    Lebanese entrepreneurs are also showing great interest in the farming
    industry in Armenia. In particular, they have been keen on engaging
    in the processing of nuts.

    Iran has long been offering some projects: as the Iranian ambassador
    said at a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan,
    of interest are also projects of transit-energy nature.

    By the way, it became known on Tuesday that an UAE-based company,
    Rasia, intends to invest in the construction of the Southern Railroad
    (Iran-Armenia). The total cost of the project is estimated at $3.2

    Meanwhile, Armenia is actively negotiating with Russia on how to
    become a member of the Customs Union in a way that it does not hit
    its sovereign economic and customs policies. It is very difficult to
    achieve, because Armenia has no shared borders with the Customs Union.

    And experts say that membership in the Customs Union will limit the
    rights of Armenia on cooperation with third countries.

    Armenia will consider the option of establishing in the country of
    a special economic zone similar to that in the Kaliningrad region of
    Russia, said Armenia's deputy economy minister Tigran Harutyunyan.

    But it raises the question of customs relations with Turkey. Armenia
    does not want to give Turkey any trade concessions after its entry
    into the Customs Union, said another deputy economy minister Garegin
    Melkonyan. He reminded that the Customs Union has an agreement
    with Turkey on the GSP System of Trade Preferences. "In this mode,
    the Customs Union imports a number of goods from Turkey on slightly
    reduced customs duties. But in negotiations with the United Economic
    Commission we defend the view that Armenia should not apply these
    benefits to Turkey," said Melkonyan.

    Relevant to this are also relations with Georgia, which already in
    August plans to sign the initialed agreement on a free trade area
    with the European Union. Armenia is trying to retain the right to
    duty-free import of cars from Georgia, said Minister Melkonyan. If
    Armenia gets this permission, it will not be able to re-export cars
    to Customs Union-member countries.

    From: Baghdasarian