Minister of Economy of Armenia Vahan Kerobyan received U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Armenia Lynne Tracy yesterday. It is reported that Deputy Ministers Varos Simonyan, Narek Teryan, Deputy Ambassador Chip Laitinen, USAID Mission Director for Armenia John G. Allelo and other officials, also attended the meeting.
Welcoming the meeting participants, Vahan Kerobyan highly appreciated the continued support of the U.S. government in carrying out economic reforms, and emphasized the effectiveness of current and already implemented programs.
The Minister referred to the "Exemplary Experience of Armenia" assessment criteria and standards developed for the tourism sector within the framework of the USAID-funded "My Armenia" program, stressing the importance of the work done. Stating that the standards have already been sent to the National Standardization Body for approval and implementation, he added that thanks to them, the tourism sector will be significantly improved, it will be possible to direct targeted tourist flows to Armenia.
The Ambassador noted that Armenia has many attractive sectors both for investment and for the development of tourism, highlighting the success of Armenia in the field of winemaking. She noted that she sees great potential for development in the field of winemaking.
The Minister also mentioned the role of USAID in establishing public-private dialogue, noting that a lot has been done in this direction, but much remains to be done to achieve the goal. Presenting the economic part of the government's program, Vahan Kerobyan noted that it is planned to move from an economy based on consumption to an economy based on investments. Among the programs being implemented, the minister highlighted programs aimed at attracting investments, investor support programs, state policy aimed at developing the financial sector, noting that the creation of venture funds is part of it. This area is already developing in Armenia, as evidenced by the recently established venture funds.
Vahan Kerobyan noted Armenia's membership in the Eurasian Economic Union, stressing that Armenia can become a good platform for American companies wishing to enter the markets of other EAEU member states. In this context, he invited American companies to conduct economic activities in Armenia.
The Minister also proposed to discuss the possibility of improving the taxation regime for businessmen in the USA and Armenia.The Ambassador agreed that it is necessary to facilitate the processes of business development as much as possible, expressing readiness to discuss further steps in this direction.
The Minister also touched upon the development of the sector of small and medium-sized businesses, existing problems, presented a vision of the development of the sector. Speaking about the shortage of specialists in the SME sector, he said that work is underway to adapt education to the requirements of business. In this context, he focused on the role of the United States in the transfer of experience and knowledge. Speaking about the investment environment, Vahan Kerobyan highlighted areas that may be of interest to American investors, namely: solar energy production, pharmaceuticals, chemical industry, healthcare.
Speaking about improving the investment climate in Armenia, the Ambassador invited the Armenian side to take part in an online meeting organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce on December 6, which will be attended by representatives of U.S. government agencies and the private sector interested in Armenia's investment opportunities.
The parties also touched upon the agreement on trade relations between Armenia and the United States. Both sides agreed to start work on revising and updating it.
At the end of the meeting, the ambassador noted that the government's program has many opportunities for cooperation between the two countries. It was decided to carry out work on the points under discussion with the participation of specialists from both sides.