Sen. Scott Discusses California Trade Office

LAST DAY OF CALIFORNIA DELEGATION’S VISIT TO ARMENIA HIGHLIGHTED BY VISIT TO PASADENA SISTER CITY

YEREVAN–On the final day of its official visit–the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region California delegation–led by State Senator Jack Scott (D-Glendale/Pasadena)–and accompanied by his wife Lacreta Scott–as well as ANCA-WR representatives Berdj Karapetian and Artin Manoukian–continued to explore possibilities of expanding trade between California and Armenia–focusing on the business sector in Armenia and programs funded by the United States.

The delegation kicked off the last day of official duties with a successful meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markarian–who was joined by Deputy Foreign Minister Ruben Shugarian–as well as National Assembly deputies of the ARF Caucus Armen Rustamian and Aghvan Vartanian. The Prime Minister reiterated his enthusiastic support and commitment to the strengthening Armenia-Diaspora ties–particularly in the areas of commerce and economy–and explained that he saw the establishment of a California Trade office in Armenia as a major step forward in that context.

Markarian expressed his hope that the California Legislature and the Governor would approve the establishment of the office in the very near future–and went on to indicate the government’s willingness to devote its full support to assisting the California Trade Office to expand trade in the areas of tourism–agribusiness–and information technology. The Prime Minister said that he was certain the implementation of the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between California and Armenia would also facilitated more efficiently through the Trade Office. "I hope this office will open before the end of the year–so that we can realize its benefits as soon as possible," explained Prime Minister Markarian.

Following the meeting with Prime Minister Markarian–Senator Scott held a press conference at the ARF Vratsian Center in central Yerevan. The press conference–which was covered by all major media outlets in the country–focused on the delegation’s meetings during the weeklong stay in Armenia. Senator Scott thanked the ARF National Assembly Caucus for extending the invitation to visit Armenia and the ANCA-WR for sponsoring the trip. He stated that the fact-finding visit will help in his efforts to secure passage and state funding of his legislation to establish a trade office in Armenia.

The last portion of the day was spent on a visit to the northern city of Vanadzor–which is a sister city with the City of Pasadena–also represented by Senator Scott. The delegation toured some of the earthquake reconstruction projects funded by Diasporan benefactors–including the Lincy Foundation. The delegation was hosted by Regional Administrator of the Lori region Henrik Koshinian–Vanadzor Mayor Samuel Darbinian–and ARF representative for the Lori region Zohrab Torossian.

Senator and Mrs. Scott also had an opportunity to meet with Chamlian Armenian school students and parents–many of whom are constituents in the 21st Senate District. The school group is on a 10-day long visit in Armenia and coincidentally housed at the same hotel as the ANCA-WR delegation.

"The ANCA-WR delegation and Senator Scott had a unique opportunity to see firsthand the problems that have been caused by the more than a decade long blockades by Turkey and Azerbaijan–but also to explore the incredible potential that exists in Armenia," explained ANCA-WR Executive Director Alex Sardar. "This has given all of our efforts the boost to work harder in ensuring that a California state-funded trade office with a focus on Armenia-California trade be established as soon as possible–so that the mutual benefits of that partnership can be reaped by both sides."

During their official stay in Yerevan–the ANCA-WR delegation met with a number of high level government representatives–including Presidential Chief of Staff Artashes Toumanyan–Minister of Regional Government and Coordinating of the Operation of Infrastructure Hovig Abrahamian–Minister of Urban Development and Reconstruction of the Earthquake Zone David Lokian–as well as parliamentary leaders–including the ARF Caucus. In addition the delegation held several meetings with business representatives in Armenia–and US Ambassador John Ordway–USAID Mission Director Keith Simmons–and other US representatives.

The California delegation also had an opportunity to meet with His Holiness Karekin II–the Catholicos of All Armenia’s on Palm Sunday in the Holy City of Etchmiadzin–where the delegation was granted rare access to the Holy See’s museum.

The focus of the delegation’s meetings is on strengthening Armenia-California economic and trade ties-an area of intense activity for Senator Scott and the ANCA-WR. Since his election to the 21 State Senate seat–Senator Scott and the ANCA-WR cooperated actively in advancing the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between California and Armenia–as a means of arriving at the creation of a publicly funded California Trade office in Armenia–serving the already existing business and trade connections between California and Armenia–which has been devastated by more than a decade-long blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices–chapters–and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world–the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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