EU, Armenia to Start Free Trade Talks

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenia and the European Union are likely to begin free trade talks in 2009 or 2010, head of the Armenian European Policy and Legal Advice Center Tigran Jrbashian said Monday during a press conference.
If talks begin, a final agreement may be signed between 2011-2013. But neither the EU nor Armenia are ready to do enter into negotiations earlier as it requires that Armenia implemen’s serious political and economic reforms.
The point in question is not merely setting up free trade, but rather establishing a deeper trade regime with the EU, he explained. The Armenian government desires such a regime. But the country must carry out serious reforms to ease its integration with European markets.
He said the new union between the EU and Mediterranean nations will not comprise Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, but these countries may move closer to the EU economic zone which has all 27 member countries as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
He said talks are underway to gain Armenia access to the General System of Privileges (GSP), which will result in a significant reduction of customs tariffs and easier import terms. He said Georgia is in it as well, but it will be enforced only in 2009. Armenia will have to ratify one more convention to be become eligible.

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