Duty-Free Russian Diamonds for Armenia
Russia is giving Armenia a break designed to boost the Caucasus country’s diamond-cutting sector.
The Federation Council, the upper house of Russian Parliament, has ratified an agreement that scraps export duties on sales of Russian hydrocarbons and raw diamonds to Armenia. “We will be one step ahead of other countries that purchase raw Russian diamonds,” Artur Ashugian, an aide to the Armenian economics minister, told the Regnum news agency back in 2013, when the agreement was signed.
Armenia was a hub for diamond cutting and processing during the Soviet era, but the sector has struggled in recent years. Armenian officials expect a 15 percent hike in cut-diamond production as a result of the Russian concession. Last year, Armenia produced 94,498 carats of cut diamonds, the ARKA news agency reported. Russia is a major supplier of raw diamonds, oil and gas to Armenia.
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