The Armenian National Committee of America urged U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills to publicly express U.S. government’s general support for both a potential new Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant to Armenia and the launch of direct U.S. to Armenia flights.
The call came as a part of an open online exchange between ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian and Ambassador Mills.
In his early response to ANCA’s concerns, Ambassador Mills said “the first step to a MCC for Armenia is to meet the MCC criteria – why we are focused on fighting corruption and building rule of law so Armenia might again qualify; big test is how free and fair April elections are conducted. Even if these steps don’t lead to a new MCC, Armenia will be far better for it.”
Commenting on calls to open direct Los-Angeles- Yerevan flights, Ambassador recalled that the Armenian government and U.S. Embassy jointly achieved the open skies reforms that now allow Western air carriers to consider the Armenian market, and “now up to Armenian Gov’t to make the business case for scheduling air services to Armenia.”
ANCA also responded to Ambassador’s explanation that “a double tax treaty is an unnecessary diversion without a welcoming business environment in Armenia”.
“Due to the absence of such a treaty between the U.S. and Armenia, there is today no clear legal framework for investors and individuals that have business activities in both jurisdictions. This creates legal uncertainty that deters potential U.S. investors, diverts investment flows, and disadvantages American businesses,” Mr. Hamparian said.
He recalled that U.S. has double tax treaties with a number of smaller countries than Armenia, and with countries rated by Transparency International in the bottom half of its Corruption Perceptions Index.