Sanctions relief on Rusal expected to ease US-Armenia aluminium trade: ANCA says

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The US Senate’s failure to block the easing of Rusal sanctions is expected to reduce the pressure on an Armenian aluminium mill, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). This brings relief to 700 employees of the Armenal mill in Yerevan and thousands of local families supported by the mill.

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Yesterday, on January 17, the vote held but fell short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Suren Hamparian said, “While we did not take a position on the broader policy debate over the lifting of specific sanctions, we do welcome the net effect of today’s vote, which is to ease pressure on a successful, export-driven Armenian enterprise that employs over 700, supports many times that number of Armenian families, and exports products to U.S. markets.”

He further said, “The ANCA remains committed to working constructively with legislators from both parties to address undue, improper, or unintended consequences of U.S. regional sanctions on Armenia and the U.S.-Armenia trade relationship.”

Armenal mill supplies aluminium foil for packaged food, beverage, cigarette, and other export markets primarily in the US and Europe. The list of US firms that purchase products from Armenal includes Colorado-based Trinidad Benham Corp and Illinois-based Handi-Foil of America and Durable Packaging International.

According to Reuters’ reports in September 2018, the Armenal plant was set to cut its production following the initial US sanctions on Deripaska-led Rusal and many other companies he controls. In 2017, the plant had an output over 33 tonnes of aluminium foil products.

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