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Armenia: Trying to Break Free of Economic Dependence on Russia?

The deal is done: Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian (right) and Assistant US Trade Representative Daniel Mullaney shake hands after signing the TIFA. (Photo: Armenian Presidential Press Service)

In yet another sign that Armenia is regretting joining the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, officials in Yerevan are playing up a trade pact with the United States.
 
The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), signed in Washington, DC, on May 7, strives to create “favorable conditions for investments and trade between the two countries.” An Armenian-American Council of Trade and Investment will be set up to work on ways to implement the goals outlined in the pact.
 
“The agreement at this point can … create opportunities for serious investments and changes,” claimed Manvel Sargsian, director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies, a pro-Western think-tank in Yerevan.
 
The significance of the deal remains a matter of conjecture. The United States presently does not rank as a particularly important trade partner for Armenia. In 2014, at $220.9 million, it accounted for a mere 4.6 percent of the South Caucasus country’s overall foreign trade, according to data from Armenia’s National Statistics Service. That number, in fact, decreased by 2.5 percent compared with the preceding year.
 

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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.

Armenia: Trying to Break Free of Economic Dependence on Russia?

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