On Regulation of Foreign Investment in the Republic of Armenia
Foreign investors are defines as; foreign citizens, stateless persons, foreign legal entities, citizens of the Republic of Armenia residing out of the territory of the RA and international organizations which engage in investment in the Republic of Armenia. Foreign investment means any type of property, including financial resources and intellectual values, which is directly invested in commercial and/or other activities implemented in the Republic of Armenia to gain profit or to achieve any other beneficial result. Investments may be made by means of currency (particularly the national currency of the Republic of Armenia – Dram), currency values, movable property and real estate, stocks, bonds, other securities, monetary claims, rights to claim the performance of contractual obligations, intellectual property, and similar investments.
The Republic of Armenia establishes and guarantees that legal regime of foreign investment and investor’s property rights cannot be less favorable than the legal regime acting with respect to the RA nationals, with the main aim of encouragement and increase of the level of foreign investment equal in both cases. The RA legal entities and organizations, however, with the aim of providing protection of the national security of the Republic of Armenia in mind, the Government of the RA may determine the territories where investment activity is prohibited and/or restricted.
The RA legislation has also established the guarantee for investors in case of amendments and changes to legislation on foreign investment. If such amendments took place, the activity of foreign investor, upon his/her request, will be regulated by the legislation which was effective at the moment of implementation of investments within five years from that moment. Government bodies also cannot confiscate foreign investment. Confiscation may be allowed only as an extreme means in case of emergency and it may be applied only upon the judgment of a court of law and with full compensation. Foreign investors are entitled to the protection of their rights and interests from violations and abuse of the state bodies and their officials through a court order. Compensation shall be made at current market prices or prices determined by independent auditors, and compensation is to be paid either in the currency invested, or in any other currency mutually agreed upon by the parties.
The investor has the right to use and dispose his/her profit and/or revenues at his/her discretion, export legally purchased monetary assets, or property from the RA without any barriers. He/she also has the right to open bank accounts and keep his/her assets there. Alongside with that he/she has the obligation to pay taxes, duties and other obligatory fees in the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
In the Republic of Armenia, foreign investment may be implemented in various forms. Investors may carry out investments through the enterprises which belong to them, as well as its division, branches, and representative offices or through the purchase of acting enterprises. They have a possibility to implement investments by registering RA legal entities, enterprises which don’t have the status of legal entity, foundation of new enterprises with participation of the RA nationals, or the purchase of the property right for the share of acting enterprises. They may also implement investments by purchasing stocks, bonds, and other securities, other property rights, as well as by virtue of contracts with the citizens of the RA, RA legal entities, or enterprises which don’t have the status of legal entity. Foreign investors may carry out any type of legal commercial activity. For performing some types of commercial activity the obtainment of a license is obligatory.
The import of the goods included in the list established by the Government of RA, which is directed at supplementing the charter capital by the enterprises with foreign investment, is exempt from customs duties. In case of sale of the goods in the period of three years, after using the mentioned privilege, the customs duty, including the collection of calculated penalties for its payment delay is carried out in accordance with the rules and procedures set by the customs legislation.
Privileges established by this law apply to enterprises with foreign investment where such investment is no less than 30 (thirty) percent at the moment of the foundation. In the Republic of Armenia enterprises with foreign investment can acquire rights and obligations by virtue of lease contracts, contracts of concession with the Government of the RA and in similar cases. Intellectual rights of foreign investors are provided and guaranteed by the legislation of the Republic of Armenia. Insurance of property or risks is carried out at the discretion of the investor.
Order of disputes resolution
If there is a legal dispute between the investor and the Republic of Armenia, it must be resolved in accordance with the Republic of Armenia legislation by the Republic of Armenia courts. Those disputes to which the Republic of Armenia is not a party shall be considered by the courts of the Republic of Armenia, or by other bodies for economic dispute settlement, in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Armenia. Such disputes shall be considered by a mediation court, should the parties have so agreed, unless otherwise established by international treaties, or by the preliminary agreement, such as founding documents, economic contracts, and similar paper agreements between the parties. Foreign investors are liable for violation of the Republic of Armenia legislation in the established order. In that case, the investor may use his/her property to guarantee any type of his/her obligations, pledges, and other similar mandates and/or promises.