EU launches free trade negotiations with Armenia


The EU has decided to launch negotiations on a deep and comprehensive free trade area with Armenia in order to boost economic growth and investment with the country. "The opening of free trade negotiations mark a turning point in our trade relations with Armenia," said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
The negotiations will cover matters that have become crucial to a modern, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment. They will not only tackle market access conditions but also focus on regulatory approximation, which will help to achieve closer economic integration between Armenia and the EU.
"We are entering a new phase that will bring our economic ties to a new level of depth and ambition. The EU is Armenia's first trading partner and a deep and comprehensive free trade area will give Armenia a more favourable access to the European Single Market, thereby helping to boost economic growth in the country," added De Gucht.
"Armenia needs to continue its work towards reaching a stable, transparent and predictable economic environment. This is essential to attract foreign direct investment inflows, leading to job creation and long-term growth. The most important gains for Armenia lie therefore behind the border, in regulatory reforms, and as such will impact on its long-term development perspective," said the European Commission in a press release dated 20 February.
The free trade area is expected to diversify and strengthen Armenia's export capacity and effectively open the way to access the EU market of 500 million consumers. The free trade area will be part of the broader Association Agreement which has been negotiated with Armenia since July 2010, in the framework of the Eastern Partnership and the European Neighbourhood Policy.
EU-Armenia negotiations on that Association Agreement have been ongoing since July 2010 in the framework of the Eastern Partnership and the European Neighbourhood Policy. The future Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area will be part of this agreement, which aims at closely associating this country to the EU both in economic and political terms, in line with the Eastern Partnership objectives.
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle stated: "This is a further sign of the strengthening of our political and economic ties. Launching DCFTA negotiations is one more step towards closer economic integration which is one of the cornerstones of our relations with countries of Eastern Partnership."
Bilateral (EU-Armenia) trade in goods amounted to €960 million in 2011.
The parties will now engage in preparations for the first negotiating round to take place soon in 2012. (ENPI Info Centre)
Press release
ENPI Info Centre – Armenia: EU to continue support to ambitious reforms (05-02-12)
EU trade relations with the South Caucasus countries including Armenia - South Caucasus
European Neighbourhood Policy
ENPI Info Centre webpage - Armenia
External Action - Eastern Partnership
ENPI Info Centre webpage - Eastern Partnership


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