- Doing Business in Armenia
Armenia became a WTO member (World Trade Organization) on 5 February 2003. Within the framework of the accession process, the government has performed a significant amount of work in terms of reducing customs duties and rehabilitating the existing system.
Implementation of the Armenian customs policy is entrusted to the State Revenue Committee affiliated to the Government of the Republic of Armenia. The customs regimes and procedures are defined by the Customs Code of the Republic of Armenia and legal acts adopted by the Committee.
Import duties and tariffs
The efforts in reducing the existing tariffs resulted in a general fall of the average customs tariffs. Armenia simplified its tariff structure by maintaining two ways of charging: 0% and 10%. According to the State Revenue Committee affiliated to the Government of the Republic of Armenia, no tariff increase will be exercised and many products are exempted from import duties (for example, equipment, raw materials, pharmaceutical products, manure and cosmetics). The complete list of all products subjected to 10% can be found on the website of the Customs Service. Exported goods are subject to customs duties at the rate of 0%. The “Market Access” data base developed by the European Commission provides the customs nomenclature, rates of customs duties applicable to the goods imported to the Republic of Armenia and originating in the European Union. This base enables obtaining open and free information regarding any EU country (http://madb.europa.eu).
There are special customs duties for some goods, such as alcoholic beverages.
In addition to the customs duties, VAT (20% rate only) and customs fees should be paid. The latter is made for carrying out customs formalities (3,500 AMD) and for inspection and recording of goods according to their weight (1,000 AMD for cargo less than 1 ton of weight and plus 300 AMD for each additional (or less) ton for cargo over 1 ton of weight).
Free economic zones
In 2011 the RA National Assembly adopted the Law “On Free Economic Zones”. Later, in 2012 the RA Government adopted respective decision on setting up free economic zone on the territories of “RAO Mars” CJSC and “Yerevan Computer Research and Development Institute” CJSC and on appointing “Sytronics Armenia” CJSC as operator of these free economic zones.
Free trade agreements
Armenia is adherent to free trade and is actively involved in the process of regional trade integration. This stance constitutes an asset for those producers who want to export a part of their production to the neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, many regional trade agreements between the CIS countries remain unapplied; Armenia is in free trade with the majority of these countries (except for Azerbaijan).
The preparation of import or export operation supposes some knowledge on the customs nomenclature of goods. The nomenclature is a coding and designation system allowing identifying goods and defining the rates for customs duties and taxes, as well as the applicable regulations for each product at the time of customs clearance. Armenia is a member of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and for this reason applies the harmonized system (HS) of coding of goods. This system of coding and designation of goods includes six digit nomenclature used in the majority of the WCO Member States.
Licenses and quotas
Except for certain products (for example military industries, pharmaceuticals), Armenia maintains neither licenses nor quotas. However, many sectors are subjects of factual monopolies of importation (sugar, gasoline, etc).
Customs procedures and systems
Customs clearance points
There are 9 customs houses, including 5 regional and 3 specialized customs houses, and 6 customs points. Customs clearance supposes the obligatory passage of goods through customs clearance body. The importation formalities are carried out by the customs clearance body, where the importing corporation is registered. Customs clearance is not obligatory at the border. At the time of crossing the border, a transportation document is issued and the merchandise can be cleared inside the territory.
The Customs Code provides for 15 customs regimes (e.g. temporary importation, importation for free circulation, temporary exportation, etc.). The system TIR (Transport International Routier) is in force in the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
Customs clearance procedures
Issuance of customs declaration is carried out either by the customs officers or by a customs broker upon submission by the importer of all the documents required.
The customs clearance procedures in Armenia tend to come closer to the international standards. Application of customs clearance was particularly improved owing to the reduction of the customs clearance delays and informatization of the procedure. All the customs application forms are available on the website of the Customs Service. Meanwhile, the imported products are damaged due to complexity and sometimes lack of transparency of the procedures.
Although the Armenian regulation is compatible with the WTO agreement on the customs evaluation (recognition of the transactional value as a key method for determination of the value of the merchandise), customs officers sometimes recalculate the billed value.