Sen. Hatch Hints at Trade Sanctions Over ArmenTel Dispute

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Senator Orrin Hatch–a ranking Republican from Utah–sent a letter to Armenian Ambassador to the United States Rouben Shugarian urging a quick resolution to a dispute between the Utah based Anglia Consulting and ArmenTel.

A copy of the letter–which promoted trade relations between Armenia and the US –was also sent to United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky.

In his letter–Hatch specifically called for US support in admission of Armenia to the World Trade Organization–however he urged that the resolution of the dispute in favor of the Utah-based company become a pre-requisite for Armenia’s membership in the WTO.

Anglia Consulting deman’s that ArmenTel compensate $200,000 for provided services. ArmenTel has denied the charges–alleging that the person who signed the contract on behalf of ArmenTel did not have such powers.

The Spandarian court of Yerevan and the Appeals Court of Armenia ruled in favor of ArmenTel.

Sen. Hatch also suggested discussing the possibility of trade sanctions against Armenia. He insisted that this case demonstrated "that Armenia’s legal system and related commercial infrastructure lacks the sufficiency and confidence" necessary to the practice of good business relations between US companies and their Armenian counterparts.

Hatch requested Shugarian’s intervention in this matter. Otherwise–Hatch said he would have strong reservations regarding Armenia’s WTO candidacy.

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