James O’Brien, the US assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia

US, Armenia Sign Customs Deal


YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — The United States and Armenia signed on June 11 an agreement on “mutual assistance” of their customs services after talks in Yerevan which a senior US official said highlighted growing ties between the two nations.

“Our discussions focused on democratic development, economic diversification, defense reforms, and Euro-Atlantic cooperation,” James O’Brien, the US assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, tweeted after chairing the latest session of the US-Armenia Strategic Dialogue. together with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan.

“Today’s meeting is yet another expression of high-level political dialogue between our two countries that will give another impetus to the evolving partnership between Armenia and the United States,” Mirzoyan said during the talks.

“The bilateral agenda continues to expand and include dimensions critical for the resilience and sustainable development of Armenia,” he added in his opening remarks made in English.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry reported afterwards that the head of Armenia’s State Revenue Committee, Rustam Badasyan, and the US ambassador in Yerevan, Kristina Kvien, signed the agreement on “mutual assistance of their customs authorities.” It gave no details of the deal.

Speaking during the talks, O’Brien said that the deal calls for an “exchange of information” between the US and Armenian customs services. It will help to expand bilateral commercial ties, he said.

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According to Armenian customs data, US-Armenian trade reached $670 million last year. US exports to Armenia accounted for almost 93 percent of the figure equivalent to 3.2 percent of the South Caucasus country’s overall foreign trade.

By comparison, Armenia’s trade with Russia totaled $7.3 billion in 2023. It has grown sharply since the Russian invasion of Ukraine despite a significant worsening of Yerevan’s relations with Moscow.

A senior Russian official said last week that the Armenian government will cause irreparable damage to those relations if it keeps drifting towards the West.


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