An Armenian-Iranian Business Forum kicked off in Yerevan today with Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and Iran’s First Vice president Eshaq Jahangiri attending the event.
“We highly appreciate the Armenian-Iranian cooperation based on centuries-old friendship and mutual respect,” PM Hovik Abrahamyan said in his opening remarks. He voiced confidence that the new political situation established in the region would further contribute to the development of a new phase of Armenian-Iranian relations.
“Today’s business forum is one of the best means to boost the economic cooperation, and will provide the Armenian and Iranian entrepreneurs with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the economies of both countries, the investment opportunities and establish ties in most different fields of economy,” he added.
Mr. Abrahamyan noted the Armenian Government has adopted an “open door” policy, and does not restrinct the investment activity in any way.”
“The Republic of Armenia is conducting a multi-vector foreign policy and enjoying privileged trade regimes with a number of countries. Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic union, which means Armenian goods can freely enter the 170 million consumption market of the EEU member states without any customs duties and administrative obstacles. We have free trade agreements with most of CIS member states with a total population of 250 million,” the Prime Minister said, adding that Armenia benefits from the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) regime of the US, Canada, Switzerland, Japan and Norway. Besides, he noted that the GSP+ trade regime provided by the European Union ensures access to 28 EU member states.
Returning to the Armenian-Iranian economic relations, Hovik Abrahamyan said “the intensification of bilateral cargo shipments is of strategic importance.” In this context he attached particular importance to the North-South Road Corridor and the Armenia-Iran rail project.
The Prime Minister voiced confidence that the construction of the Armenia-Iran third high-voltage power line and the Meghri HPP would give new quality to Armenia’s integration into regional energy systems.
Another Armenian-Iranian business forum is expected to be convened in Tehran in a month, Mr. Abrahamyan informed.
Addressing the participants, Iran’s First Vice-President Ashaq Jahangiri said to be happy for the opportunity to attend a meeting of Armenian and Iranian entrepreneurs. “The two neighboring countries – Iran and Armenia – have a common historic past and exemplary relations, a wide framework of cultural and political relations, which have reinforced over time.”
“Iranian Armenians greatly contribute to the progress of the country and we have no restriction with regard to our relations with Armenia,” the Iranian official said.
Mr. Jahangiri said Armenia’s membership in EEU could serve a good platform for the establishment of EEU-Iran dialogue and development of cooperation. “Armenia is the only country that can provide Iran with an access to EEU market,” he said.
The Armenian-Iranian Business Forum has brought together more than 300 entrepreneurs from both countries.