WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills today confirmed reports that a U.S.-Armenia Trade and Investment Treaty will be signed during President Sargsyan’s working visit this week to Washington, DC, the final step in the negotiation of a bilateral economic accord long sought by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia, and a Armenia-based U.S. businesses.
Responding to questions from Yerkir Media’s Vanuhi Avagyan at a press conference earlier today, Amb. Mills explained, “We are very pleased that progress is being made towards the signing of the TIFA agreement.” He said the deal will result in “more opportunities for trade and business” between the two countries. Ambassador Mills went on to note, “I can assure you that the relationship between Armenia and the United States is very strong,” said Mills. “President Obama thinks this relationship is very important,” added the envoy.
“This week’s TIFA signing – a longstanding ANCA policy priority – represents a constructive, concrete expression of our commitment to generating good jobs, inspiring real hope, creating sustainable growth, and building economic opportunity both in Armenia and here in America,” said ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. “We want to thank all those in our community, in Congress, and – of course – in both the U.S. and Armenian governments who helped bring this agreement into being. We look forward, in the coming weeks and months, to building on this progress by securing a Double Tax Treaty and eventually a full-fledged Free Trade Agreement.”
In a letter sent this week to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman calling for a TIFA signing this week, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian outlined ten practical benefits of putting in place this government-to-government platform for dialogue about the growth of bilateral trade and investment. These benefits include:
— Improving the investment climate, identifying priority growth areas and building trade capacity
— Addressing regional trade issues, including the special hardships faced by Armenia due to the blockades imposed on its borders by Turkey and Azerbaijan
— Streamlining customs systems, and increasing the transparency of governmental processes related to imports and exports
— Discussing the effectiveness of current programs in Armenia of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and U.S. Trade and Development Agency
— Expanding agricultural trade and investment
— Growing the level of trade in services, including banking, insurance, and tourism
— Promoting Diasporan trade and investment, with a special focus on expanding Armenian American trade and investment partnerships with Armenia
— Improving Armenia ’s use of U.S. Generalized System of Preferences benefits
— Addressing any outstanding problems in the area of intellectual property rights
— Exploring ways to deepen future U.S.-Armenia trade and investment
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian joined Hachikian in welcoming the impending signing of the key bilateral trade agreement in a video message to the Armenian American community, calling it a “win-win” for US-Armenia economic relations.
Additional information about the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and details about the signing will follow.