YEREVAN (Arka) – Russia is ready to take part in development of the free economic zone at the Armenian-Iranian border, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday after he met with his Armenian counterpart Karen Karapetyan in Yerevan.
“We have good relations with Iran, whether you like it or not,” he said. “Therefore, we are ready to get involved if our EAEU friends and partners set up a free economic zone with Iran, including by inviting there Russian businesses.”
According to Medvedev, Armenian colleagues have proposed other types of co-investment.
“Our partners have offered us other types of co-investment,” Medvedev said. “We will think of how to finalize them, perhaps through the use of Russia’s development institutions, such as the Direct Investment Fund, Vnesheconombank and the Rostexportcenter. The outcome is what matters here.”
In turn, Prime Minister Karapetyan said that frequent, periodic, and constructive meetings had been held recently at interagency and horizontal levels, which can add momentum to those measures we have agreed upon.
“We believe that the free economic zone is a good platform for Russian capital and businesses interested in the Iranian market,” he said. “Moreover, we are very open and ready to cooperate not only over the deployment of Russian businesses in the Free Economic Zone, but also on the launch of investment cooperation. I do believe that in the near future the ongoing extensive talks will be finalized for practical use.”
Armenia is to open the free economic zone on its border with Iran in November. The construction is estimated to cost $32 million, of which $28 million is capital spending.
This is one of the top-priority talks of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments. The free economic zone is planned to be built on 10-15 hectares with the opportunity of expansion to 45-50 hectares.
Although the zone is not built yet, there are already offers from ten companies from Russia, Iran, and Europe, which have expressed their willingness to start building the zone.
The economy ministry says the zone will make it possible to create 2,500 new jobs and to build up exports from Armenia by 30%.
As many as 100 to 120 companies are expected to operate here. Their earnings for ten years are believed to total $52 million and their products are planned to be exported to Iran, the Eurasian Economic union countries, Turkmenistan, and Middle East countries.
Total investments of all the companies are expected to reach $350-400 million over one decade.
The operation of the zone has already fixed in the Eurasian Economic Union’s customs code. As many as seven similar zones will operate in the Eurasian Economic Union’s space on duty-free system.’’’