EghtesadOnline: Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan has called on Eurasian Economic Union member states to take advantage of preferential terms in Meghri Free Economic Zone and export goods to Iran.
Karapetyan also called on Iran to export its products to EEU via the FEZ.
The free economic zone located in the southern Armenian town of Meghri on the border with Iran was inaugurated by Karapetyan on Dec. 15 last year, with facilities for a wide range of fields, including agriculture, manufacturing, trade, cargo shipment, storage and tourism.
Companies operating in Meghri FEZ will be exempted from profit tax, value-added tax, excise tax and customs fees, while it would have to only pay income tax.
“This FEZ is a good platform for the Russian businesses and capital, which have an interest in Iran,” Financial Tribune quoted the Armenian premier as saying.
“Armenia, being an EEU member and having privileged customs regimes with the EU, a common border with Iran, as well as attractive investment and business environment, can be of serious interest for productions aimed for exports with the existence of the FEZ on the border with Iran, for using Armenia’s commercial logistic opportunities, based on its geographic position,” he was quoted as saying by Armenpress.
Given its geographical position, commercial and logistical capabilities as well as Armenia’s multi-sector preferential trade regimes, Armenian officials expect the zone to attract 50-70 companies in the coming years, investing $100-130 million and creating more than 1,500 jobs.
“The launch of Meghri Free Economic Zone will help increase the trade turnover volumes between Armenia and Iran, exchanging experience with Iranian free economic zones,” Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Kazem Sajjadi was quoted as saying at the FEZ’s inaugural ceremony.
According to Karapetyan, trade between Iran and Armenia during the 10 months of 2017 was worth only $62.5 million, excluding energy.
“The trade growth rate between our countries is one of the most insignificant in comparison with other countries, only 9-10%. So our Iranian partners and we believe that we will have much to do, and there is a great potential for a sharp growth in trade,” he was quoted as saying in a parliamentary session last week.
Armenia’s exports to Iran include meat, paper, steel, mechanical and medical equipment, coffee and mineral water while Iranian exports to Armenia include natural gas, bitumen, oil, petroleum products, household products, fertilizers, glass, fruits and vegetables.
Since Armenia’s borders with both Turkey and Azerbaijan have long been closed due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Iran is one of the only two conduits for landlocked Armenia to the outside world.