Armenia

GDP (US$ Billion)

11.55 (2017)

World Ranking 132/192

GDP Per Capita (US$)

3,861 (2017)

World Ranking 119/192

Economic Structure

(in terms of GDP composition, 2017)

Services
(51.32%)
Industry
(25.29%)
Agriculture
(14.94%)

External Trade (% of GDP)

75.7 (2016)

Currency (Period Average)

Armenian Dram

482.72 per US$ (2017)

Political System

Unitary multiparty republic

Overview

Armenia's economy has experienced a profound transformation since independence. Continued growth, ambitious reforms, as well as inflows of capital and remittances, have created a market-oriented environment. However, the global financial crisis of 2007-08 has had a considerable impact on its economy. The most recent statistics from trade flows resulting from the Armenia-European Union (EU) Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) offer an encouraging picture for Armenia's future economic development as a result of trade with EU member states.

Sources: World Bank, Fitch Solutions

Major Economic/Political Events and Upcoming Elections

April 2018

President Serzh Sargsyan of the ruling Republican Party briefly assumed the premiership, which outranks the presidency in terms of political power, after Armenia became a parliamentary republic in March 2018. He later resigned.

May 2018

Nikol Pashinyan of the Civil Contract Party was elected prime minister by a 59-42 vote in parliament as leader of the Way Out Alliance.

October 2018

The Armenian Cabinet approved ratification of an agreement between Armenia and Japan on liberalising, encouraging and protecting investments. Acting Minister of Economic Development and Investments, Tigran Khachatryan, said that the agreement would boost the development of bilateral economic relations.

November 2018

Ural Airlines announced that it is restoring direct flights between Volgograd and Yerevan after an absence of three years.

November 2018

In a meeting between China's ambassador to Armenia and Armenia's Minister of Transportation, Communication and Information, the possibility of direct air transportation between the two countries was discussed, as well as the creation of a business arena.

December 2018

After Acting Prime Minister Pashinyan dissolved parliament, snap elections took place on December 9, 2018. Pashinyan won a convincing victory.

The Armenian Tourism Federation announced that the number of tourists who visited Armenia in the first nine months of 2018 had increased by nearly 9% compared with 2017.

February 2019 

Preliminary figures released by the National Statistical Committee revealed that Armenia's economy grew by 5.2% in 2018. Trade turnover with EU member states recorded major growth in 2018, with exports increasing by 8% and overall trade turnover by 19%.

Sources: BBC Country Profile – Timeline, Fitch Solutions, Al Jazeera, Select Armenia, ARKA News Agency, Reuters, ArmenPress

Major Economic Indicators

 

Graph: Armenia real GDP and inflation
 
Graph: Armenia real GDP and inflation
 
Graph: Armenia GDP by sector (2017)
 
Graph: Armenia GDP by sector (2017)
 
Graph: Armenia unemployment rate
 
Graph: Armenia unemployment rate
 
Graph: Armenia current account balance
 
Graph: Armenia current account balance
 

e = estimate, f = forecast

Sources: IMF, World Bank, Fitch Solutions

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

External Trade

Merchandise Trade

Graph: Armenia merchandise trade
 
Graph: Armenia merchandise trade
 
 

Source: WTO

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

Graph: Armenia major export commodities (2017)
 
Graph: Armenia major export commodities (2017)
 
Graph: Armenia major export markets (2017)
 
Graph: Armenia major export markets (2017)
 
Graph: Armenia major import commodities (2017)
 
Graph: Armenia major import commodities (2017)
 
Graph: Armenia major import markets (2017)
 
Graph: Armenia major import markets (2017)
 

Sources: Trade Map, Fitch Solutions

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

Trade in Services

Graph: Armenia trade in services
 
Graph: Armenia trade in services
 

 

Source: WTO

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

Trade Policies
  • Armenia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in February 2003. It is also part of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which requires the Armenian Customs Code to be in line with WTO requirements.

  • Membership of the EAEU forces Armenia to apply stricter standardisation, sanitary and phyto-sanitary requirements in line with Russia and the broader community’s requirements. Companies are required to comply with EAEU technical regulations as of January 2018. For some products, such as furniture or wheeled vehicles, the new requirements will go into effect in 2022.

  • Improper implementation of the Customs Code remains a barrier to trade. There is still a lack of clarity in Armenia in many areas, such as import licensing, customs procedures and intellectual property rights enforcement, which now fall under the jurisdiction of the EAEU. Due to this, international firms may face several tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, including reference pricing on customs duties when exporting to Armenia. Another potential problem is the EAEU's complex system of standardisation. International businesses are encouraged to obtain appropriate legal advice or assistance from experienced distributors or consultants on all aspects of EAEU requirements.

  • Armenia made trading easier by introducing self-declaration desks at customs houses and warehouses, investing in new equipment to improve border operations and introducing a risk-management system. The country has also reduced the time and cost for documentary and border compliance for trade with Russia by joining the EAEU. According to the Doing Business 2018 study by the World Bank, Armenia ranks in 52nd place out of 190 economies for the ease of trading across borders. On average, the time required to import is 41 hours for border compliance and two hours for documentary compliance, and the import costs for border and documentary compliances are each USD100.

  • As of September 2017, imports of lacquer and paint for production of leather goods have been temporarily exempted from import duties. The import duty is reduced from 5% to 0% of the customs value until August 2019.

  • In June 2017, the members of the EAEU suspended import tariffs on lead ores from September 2017 until May 2019.

  • The EAEU reduced import duties on certain types of paper and paperboard from March 2017.

  • Armenia's average tariff rate is 2.4%, the fourth lowest in the Caucasus and Central Asia region (out of eight countries). The common external tariff for the EAEU largely corresponds with Russian tariff rates.

  • The Customs Code facilitates export transactions with much less documentation than for customs clearance of imports, and most exporters report minor issues in the customs houses.

Sources: WTO - Trade Policy Review, Fitch Solutions

Trade Agreement

Trade Updates

In April 2018, Armenia's National Assembly voted unanimously to ratify the Armenia-EU CEPA. Although the new deal aims to deepen ties between Brussels and Yerevan, it will replace the 'Partnership and Cooperation Agreement', which was abandoned in 2013.

Multinational Trade Agreements

Active

  1. Armenia-Kazakhstan Free Trade Agreement (FTA): The FTA entered into force on December 25, 2001 and covers trade in goods. As of 2017, Kazakhstan was Armenia's 18th-largest export partner, where Armenia exported 0.2% of its total exports to Kazakhstan, with the majority of products being beverages, spirits and vinegar.

  2. Armenia-Moldova FTA: The FTA entered into force on December 21, 1995 and covers trade in goods. As of 2017, Moldova was Armenia's 45th-largest export partner, with pharmaceutical products being the majority of products exported from Armenia to Moldova.

  3. Armenia-Turkmenistan FTA: The FTA entered into force on July 7, 1996 and covers trade in goods. As of 2017, Turkmenistan was Armenia's 19th-largest export partner, where Armenia exported 0.2% of its total exports to Turkmenistan, with the majority of products being natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones and precious metals.

  4. Armenia-Ukraine FTA: The FTA entered into force on December 18, 1996, and covers trade in goods. As of 2017, Ukraine was Armenia's eighth-largest import partner, where Armenia imported 2.9% of its total imports from the Ukraine, with the majority of products being tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes.

  5. EAEU: The EAEU is a Plurilateral Customs Union and Economic Integration Agreement for trade in goods and services, which entered into force in January 2015. Its member states are Armenia (which joined on January 2, 2015), Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. The end of the EAEU's implementation period is 2025.

Signed But Not Yet In Effect

  1. Mainland China-EAEU FTA: An agreement on trade and economic cooperation was signed between mainland China and the EAEU in May 2018 within the framework of the Astana Economic Forum. Emphasis has been placed on parties' cooperation in the sphere of e-commerce, as the digital economy era will create favourable conditions for future trade between mainland China and the EAEU members.

  2. Armenia-EU CEPA: In April 2018, Armenia ratified the CEPA, which has been provisionally applied since June 2018, and in July 2018 the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly for its ratification. CEPA is expected to become fully effective by mid-2019.

Sources: WTO Regional Trade Agreements database, European Commission

Investment Policy

Foreign Direct Investment

 

Graph: Armenia FDI stock
 
Graph: Armenia FDI stock
 
Graph: Armenia FDI flow
 
Graph: Armenia FDI flow
 

Source: UNCTAD

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

Foreign Direct Investment Policy

  1. The Development Foundation of Armenia (DFA) is Armenia's national authority for investment, export and tourism promotion. The DFA provides services and information to foreign investors on business climate, investment opportunities and legislation, support for investors' visits, as well as liaison with governmental institutions.

  2. Armenia officially welcomes foreign investment, and investment and trade policy is relatively open. Foreign companies are assured of a legal regime that entitles them to the same treatment under the law as Armenian companies. A stabilisation clause guarantees against changes of legislation on investments for five years. There are no restrictions on remittances or on any sector or geographic location. Foreign citizens can have long-term lease contracts, and companies registered by a foreigner in Armenia can buy land.

  3. The high-tech and information technology sectors, in particular, have attracted foreign investment; many foreign firms have established branches or subsidiaries in Armenia to take advantage of the country's pool of qualified specialists.

  4. Some barriers exist that prevent a level playing field for all investors. Foreign entities must frequently contend with non-transparent tax and customs procedures that increase costs, and there are frequent applications of reference prices and misclassification of imported goods during customs clearance.

  5. Armenia has 35 bilateral investment treaties in force, with seven others signed but not yet in force. On May 7, 2015, a trade and investment framework agreement was signed with the United States. Armenia also has 44 international treaties on double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion.

Sources: WTO – Trade Policy Review, ITA, US Department of Commerce, Investment Policy Hub UNCTAD

Free Trade Zones and Investment Incentives

Free Trade Zone/Incentive Programme Main Incentives Available
Armenia currently has three Free Economic Zones (FEZ): Alliance and Meridian in Yerevan and Meghri at the border with Iran.



A fourth FEZ was approved in late August 2018, to be established in Hrazdan and organised by ECOS company, with a focus on innovative technology ventures, including products based on blockchain.
Armenia adopted a Law on FEZ on May 25, 2011, and developed several important regulations at the end of 2011 to attract foreign investments in FEZs: exemptions from value added tax (VAT), corporate tax, customs duties and property tax.



Alliance FEZ opened in August 2013 and currently has nine businesses using its facilities. The focus of Alliance FEZ is on high-tech industries such as information and communication technologies, electronics, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, architecture and engineering, industrial design and alternative energy. In 2014, the government expanded operations in the Alliance FEZ to include industrial production as long as there is no similar production already occurring in Armenia.



Meridian FEZ launched in March 2015. The focus is on jewellery production, watchmaking and diamond-cutting, with six businesses operating in it.



Meghri FEZ was inaugurated in December 2017 in the southernmost city of Meghri on Armenia's border with Iran. The border location is intended to intensify trade relations with Iran, potentially providing an economic bridge to the EAEU and EU. Companies operating in the Meghri FEZ will be exempt from corporation tax, VAT, excise tax and customs fees, paying only income tax.

Sources: US Department of Commerce, Fitch Solutions, Armenia's Ministry of Economic Development and Investments, ARKA News Agency

Taxation – 2019
  • Value Added Tax: 20%
  • Corporate Income Tax: 20%

Source: Tax Service of the Republic of Armenia

Important Updates to Taxation Information

  • The new Tax Code of Armenia entered into force on January 1, 2018, consolidating all the separate tax laws into a single Tax Code alongside major changes in tax rates, policies and administration.

  • The most significant changes effective from January 1, 2018 include transfer pricing regulations entering into force; fixed and intangible assets being depreciated using the straight-line method (replacing previously applicable depreciation by pools); some expense deductibility limits being changed or removed; and the introduction of a definition for permanent establishment of a non-resident entity.

Business Taxes

Type of Tax Tax Rate and Base
Corporate Income Tax 20% - standard
Resident company: Capital Gains Tax Capital gains are included in taxable income
Withholding Taxes The rate for non-residents (inidividuals) is 10% each on dividend income, royalties and interest, which may be reduced if a double taxation agreement exists



Payments made to non-resident companies for other types of income are subject to a 20% withholding tax
Social security contributions Pension fund contributions are mandatory for foreign and local residents born after January 1, 1974. Monthly gross income up to AMD500,000 results in 5% withheld by employers for pension purposes. A further AMD25,000 (maximum) is contributed by the state



If the monthly gross income is more than AMD500,000, the employer withholds a contribution in the amount of the difference of 10% of the income and AMD25,000. The maximum amount of monthly social payment is capped at AMD25,000 by July 1, 2020
Value Added Tax Standard rate of 20%. Exported goods and related services are zero-rated. Advertising, consulting, marketing, design, engineering, legal, accounting, auditing, data processing and other related services provided to non-residents are zero-rated if the non-resident's place of business is outside Armenia. Various supplies, including most financial and education services, are VAT-exempt
Turnover Tax This tax is payable by commercial organisations and individuals (entrepreneurs) in place of VAT and/or CIT obligations (for SMEs). Rates vary according to acitivity: trading 5%, production 3.5%, newspaper sales 1.5%, rental income 10%, notary income 10%, organising a lottery 25%, 'other type of activities' 5%
Property Tax This tax is assessed and collected at the municipal level on buildings, motor vehicles and means of water transport. The tax rate on buildings is 0.3%, which is paid on the cadastral value
Land Tax Land tax is assessed and collected at the municipal level, and paid by landowners and the permanent users of state-owned land. Land tax for agricultural land is calculated at 15% of the net income determined by the cadastral evaluation. For non-agricultural land, the rate is 0.5-1.0% of the cadastral value of the land

Source: Tax Service of the Republic of Armenia

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

Foreign Worker Requirements

Foreign Worker Permits

There are a several work-related classes of visitor visas: V-5 for attending cultural, athletic, scientific or other events; V-6 for participating in humanitarian, charitable, technical assistance and similar programmes; V-7 for business, investment or work; and V-8 for crew members. These are not for the long term. Anyone needing to stay in Armenia for a longer period will need to obtain a residence permit: one-year, five-year and 10-year residence permits are available, and are only issued in Armenia. Armenia does not yet have a system of work permits. An employer will need to ensure that the employee has a proper residence permit. Investment, business ownership and work are all applicable circumstances for a residence permit.

Localisation Requirements

There are no performance requirements for foreign businesses in terms of mandating local employment. The processes for obtaining visas and residence or work permits are quite simple.

Visa/Travel Restrictions

Holders of all types of passports from 56 countries are not required to obtain a visa for entry to Armenia for up to 180 days a year. Citizens of mainland China or Hong Kong must apply for a visa; this can be done online in advance in the form of an e-visa (valid for 120 days but extendable to 180), but can also be obtained upon arrival at the border.

Sources: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Fitch Solutions

Risks

Sovereign Credit Ratings


 
Rating (Outlook) Rating Date
Moody's
 
B1 (Positive) 09/03/2018
Standard & Poor's Not related
 
Not related
 
Fitch Ratings
 
B+ (Positive) 30/11/2018

Sources: Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings

Competitiveness and Efficiency Indicators


 
World Ranking
 
2017 2018 2019
Ease of Doing Business Index
 
38/190 47/190 41/190
Ease of Paying Taxes Index
 
88/190 87/190 82/190
Logistics Performance Index
 
N/A 92/160 N/A
Corruption Perception Index
 
107/180 105/180 N/A
IMD World Competitiveness N/A
 
N/A N/A

Sources: World Bank, Transparency International

Fitch Solutions Risk Indices


 
World Ranking
2017 2018 2019
Economic Risk Index Rank  N/A 175/202 150/202
Short-Term Economic Risk Score
 
38.5 40.0 42.1
 
Long-Term Economic Risk Score 37.4 38.2 43.9
Political Risk Index Rank  N/A 104/202 104/202
Short-Term Political Risk Score 52.7 47.7 47.7
 
Long-Term Political Risk Score 61.5 61.5 61.5
Operational Risk Index Rank  N/A 71/201 70/201
Operational Risk Score 56.6 55.1 55.5
 

Source: Fitch Solutions

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

Fitch Solutions Risk Summary

ECONOMIC RISK

Armenia's long-term growth outlook remains reliant on Russian support and external demand, especially in light of Armenia's accession to the EAEU in 2015. EAEU membership will provide some benefit to Armenian exporters when Russian growth starts to accelerate on the back of higher oil prices.

OPERATIONAL RISK

In the World Bank's ranking for Ease of Doing Business in 2018, Armenia ranks 47th out of 190 countries, well above even some members of the EU, such as Bulgaria and Croatia.

Source: Fitch Solutions

Date last reviewed: March 12, 2019

Fitch Solutions Political and Economic Risk Indicies

Graph: Armenia short term political risk index
 
Graph: Armenia short term political risk index
 
Graph: Armenia long term political risk index
 
Graph: Armenia long term political risk index
 
Graph: Armenia short term economic risk index
 
Graph: Armenia short term economic risk index
 
Graph: Armenia long term economic risk index
 
Graph: Armenia long term economic risk index
 

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk

Source: Fitch Solutions Political and Economic Risk Indices

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index


 
Operational Risk Labour Market Risk Trade and Investment Risk Logistics Risk Crime and Security Risk
Armenia Score 55.5 56.1 58.5 49.9 57.6
Caucasus and Central Asia Average 50.0 54.9 53.4 46.6 44.9
Caucasus and Central Asia Position (out of 8) 4 4 4
 
4
 
1
 
Emerging Europe Average 55.9 53.8 57.7 57.0 55.2
Emerging Europe Position (out of 31) 18 9
 
17
 
22
 
11
 
Global Average 49.6 49.7 49.9 49.0 49.8
Global Position (out of 201) 70 53
 
70
 
93
 
76
 

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk

Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index

Graph: Armenia vs global and regional averages
 
Graph: Armenia vs global and regional averages
 
Country
 
Operational Risk Index
 
Labour Market Risk Index
 
Trade and Investment Risk Index Logistics Risk Index Crime and Security Risk Index
Georgia 61.9 64.7 70.9 54.9 57.1
Kazakhstan 58.8 60.3 62.4 59.5 52.8
Azerbaijan 58.5 71.6 58.9 54.1 49.3
Armenia 55.5 56.1 58.5 49.9 57.6
Tajikistan 42.3 49.2 53.1 34.7 32.5
Kyrgyzstan 42.3 51.2 38.9 38.8 40.1
Uzbekistan 42.3 52.8 44.7 38.0 33.5
Turkmenistan 38.1 33.8 39.4 43.1 36.1
Regional Averages 50.0 54.9 53.4 46.6 44.9
Emerging Markets Averages 46.7 48.1 45.5 47.4 46.0
Global Markets Averages 49.6 49.7 49.9 49.0 49.8

 

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk

Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

Hong Kong Connection

Hong Kong’s Trade with Armenia

Graph: Major export commodities to Armenia (2018)
 
Graph: Major export commodities to Armenia (2018)
 
Graph: Major import commodities from Armenia (2018)
 
Graph: Major import commodities from Armenia (2018)
 

Note: Graph shows the main Hong Kong exports to/imports from Armenia (by consignment)

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

Graph: Merchandise exports to Armenia
 
Graph: Merchandise exports to Armenia
 
Graph: Merchandise imports from Armenia
 
Graph: Merchandise imports from Armenia
 

Note: Graph shows Hong Kong exports to/imports from Armenia (by consignment)

Exchange Rate HK$/US$, average

7.75 (2014)

7.75 (2015)

7.76 (2016)

7.79 (2017)

7.83 (2018)

Sources: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, Fitch Solutions

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019


 
2017
 
Growth rate (%)
Number of Armenian residents visiting Hong Kong 554
 
50.5
 

Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board


 
2017
 
Growth rate (%)
Number of European residents visiting Hong Kong 1,929,824
 
-0.19
Number of emerging Europe citizens residing in Hong Kong 89 1.13

Sources: Hong Kong Tourism Board, Fitch Solutions

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

Commercial Presence in Hong Kong


 
2017
 
Growth rate (%)
 
Number of Armenian companies in Hong Kong N/A
 
N/A
- Regional headquarters
- Regional offices
- Local offices



Treaties and Agreements between Hong Kong and Armenia
 

  • Armenia has a bilateral investment treaty with mainland China that entered into force on March 18, 1995.
  • A double taxation agreement between Armenia and mainland China was signed on May 5, 1996, and has been in force since January 1, 1997.

Sources: UNCTAD, State Administration of Taxation of the People's Republic of China, Fitch Solutions

Visa Requirements for Hong Kong Residents

Starting from  March 3, 2019, Hong Kong residents are not required to provide a visa when visiting the Republic of Armenia for a period up to 180 days. For a stay extending this period a residence permit card needs to be acquired.

Sources: Visa on Demand, Ministry of Foreign Affaris of the Republic of Armenia

Date last reviewed: March 16, 2019

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