Congressmen Want to Expedite Tax Agreement

WASHINGTON–DC–Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) urged Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill to help expedite a bilateral tax treaty between the US and Armenia that would effectively eliminate the "double taxation" of income of citizens working in both countries–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). The appeal comes on the eve of an inter-agency US Armenia Task Force meeting–which is set to discuss this issue as part of an overall framework to promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

"We want to thank Congressmen Knollenberg and Pallone for their leadership in urging the adoption of a bilateral tax treaty with Armenia," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "As we have explained to senior Administration officials–the adoption of this and other economic agreemen’s – such as a Social Security agreement – will advance US interests in the region by strengthening the US-Armenia economic relationship and expanding trade and investment opportunities for businesses in both countries."

The treaty on bilateral taxation–or "double taxation," would clarify the taxation of transactions–investmen’s–rents–royalties–management contracts–dividends–interest and salaries of companies and employees working in Armenia and the United States. A separate agreement on Social Security would clarify Social Security obligations and entitlemen’s for companies and individuals working or residing in both countries. It would eliminate dual Social Security coverage and taxes for multinational companies and expatriate workers–while improving benefit protection for workers who have divided their careers between the United States and Armenia.

A broad range of bilateral economic issues will be addressed during the US Armenia Task Force meeting–to be held in Yerevan–Armenia–on January 23rd and 24th. In recent weeks–the ANCA has discussed these issues with American diplomats stationed in Armenia and with Amb. Bill Taylor–coordinator of US assistance to Europe and Eurasia. Taylor is leading the US delegation–which will include officials from the Departmen’s of Commerce and Treasury–Justice–and Agriculture–as well as from the office of the US Trade Representative and the US Agency for International Development. Leading the Armenia delegation will be Finance and Economy Minister Vardan Khachatryan.

"We appreciate the efforts of Ambassador Bill Taylor and are confident that the inter-agency team he has brought together will work constructively with its Armenian counterpart during the meeting of the US-Armenia Task Force–and in the months ahead–to make progress on bilateral issues–ranging from trade–energy and tourism to maximizing the effectiveness of US aid programs and promoting economic reform," added Hamparian.

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