YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Amb. Bill Taylor–coordinator of US assistance to Europe and Eurasia–who leads the US delegation at the fourth semi-annual meeting of the US-Armenia Task Force in Yerevan–praised Armenia on Wednesday for supporting with the US in the global anti-terrorism war–following the September 11 attacks.
He described the reported nine percent economic growth in Armenia last year as "a respect deserving index." He also expressed hope that the meeting would be another step in expanding US-Armenia commercial activity and further strengthening Armenia’s growing economy."
The US delegation also includes officials from the Departmen’s of Commerce–Treasury–Justice–and Agriculture–as well as from the office of the US Trade and the US Agency for International Development. Leading Armenia’s delegation is Finance and Economy Minister Vardan Khachatrian.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting Armenia’s Prime Minister Andranik Margarian said the US-Armenian relations need to be more clearly defined–following the September 11 events. Margarian also praised the new Armenian banking legislation–which–he said–prevents money laundering. Going into the details of the government plan to reduce the level of poverty–Margarian said that the US assistance Armenia receives annually will continue to help the government implement important reforms.
As areas for perspective cooperation between the two countries he singled out information technology and the development of tourism.
Among the topics of discussion during the two day meeting will be the adoption of a treaty on bilateral taxation-or "double taxation"-of companies and individuals living and working in both countries. The adoption of such a treaty would clarify the taxation of transactions–investmen’s–rents–royalties–management contracts–dividends–interest and salaries.
Other topics on the Task Force agenda include promoting economic and financial sector reforms; fighting corruption; Armenia’s accession to the World Trade Organization; expanding tourism in Armenia; increasing Armenian imports to the United States; cooperation in fighting international terrorist financing; maximizing the effectiveness of the US assistance program–and; domestic and regional energy generation and distribution.
The US-Armenia Task Force was formed in January of 2000 to help coordinate the efforts of the Departmen’s of State–Commerce and Treasury–the Trade Development Agency–the US Agency for International Development–and the National Security Council to promote economic cooperation between the US and Armenia and to assist Armenia in its transition to a market-oriented economy. The Task Force is scheduled to meet twice a year–and alternates venues between Yerevan and Washington.