Aluminum foil gives Armenia boost in trade with U.S.

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Wednesday March 10, 2010

View of an Armenal production facility.

Washington - Despite a sharp economic downturn last year Armenia registered a slight surplus in its trade with the United States for the first time since records began to be kept in 1992.

According to figures published by the U.S. Census Bureau, reduction in U.S. exports to Armenia and concurrent U.S. imports of more than $62 million worth of aluminum foil - produced at Armenal, the Kanaker-based aluminum plant owned by Russia's Rusal holding - were key to generating the unprecedented outcome.

Last December, Armenal reportedly doubling of its output in 2009 to 20,000 metric tons of foil, following a Rusal-introduced modernization of the Soviet-era mill.

Overall, Armenia exported $77.6 million worth of products to U.S. while importing slightly less - $77.5 million.

Armenia's other export categories were substantially more modest, including $1.4 million worth of tobacco products, $1.1 million - of jewelry, with brandy, non-alcoholic beverages and chloroprene rubber (from Yerevan's Nairit plant) accounting for between half a million to less than a million U.S. dollars each.

In 2002-8 Armenia's exports to U.S. stood at between $30 to $50 million, with U.S. exports to Armenia normally amounting to between $100 and $150 million.

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