Trade Office Bill Overcomes Assembly Committee Hurdle

ANC Backed Armenia Trade Office Legislation Moves Closer to Adoption by California State Legislature

SACRAMENTO–The California State Assembly Committee on Appropriations passed legislation introduced by Senator Jack Scott (D-Pasadena)–which would establish a California Regional Trade Office in the Republic of Armenia. The bill has been placed on the suspense file of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and remained there for approximately two weeks. Today–the bill was taken off the suspense file and passed by the committee on its way to consideration by the full Assembly.

Last week ANCA-WR Chairman Steven Dadaian and Board member Berdj Karapetian met with California State Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson (D-Los Angeles) to discuss the status of SB 1657 in the State Assembly and other issues pertaining to strengthening the economic ties between California and Armenia.

In addition to the meetings held in Sacramento–over a dozen local ANC’s from all over California have been working with the ANCA-WR office in contacting their state legislators to urge them to support SB 1657. The efforts of the statewide grassroots effort culminated in SB 1657.

Senate Bill 1657 would have the trade office serve Armenia and surrounding Eastern European and Southwestern Asian independent neighbors. The aim of the proposal is for California to promote trade relations in developing areas of the world that show emerging market potential. A study of the trade office’s economic impact on trade–investment and tourism would be completed by March–2005.

"Californians have a long history of entrepreneurial ingenuity and creativity. These traits can assist California’s capitalistic spirit develop and expand its presence in Armenia and its bordering nations with the proposed trade office," said Senator Scott about the importance of SB 1657. "With California’s large Armenian community–this is an opportune moment for California to increase its growing ties with the region and especially with the people of Armenia."

ANCA-WR Chairman Steven Dadaian echoed the sentimen’s of the Senator today when asked about the passage of the Trade Office Legislation which the Armenian National Committee has been working on even prior to its introduction.

"Thousands of California businesses will benefit from the exchange of ideas and goods between Armenia and California–which this trade office will help to facilitate," said Steven J. Dadaian–chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR).

"We’re very pleased that the idea of a California Regional Trade Office has moved another step closer to becoming a reality," said Berdj Karapetian–ANCA-WR board member. "We applaud Senator Scott for championing this bill; the ANC will continue to work with the legislature and the governor on getting final approval for the establishment of the trade office."

The State of California currently has trade offices in Germany–United Kingdom–Hong Kong–Indonesia–Israel–Mexico–South Africa–Taiwan and Japan. Senator Scott’s measure calls for the addition of a tenth trade office to be located in Yerevan–the capital of the Republic of Armenia. The efforts of SB 1657 would allow private as well as public investment in the trade office.

The bill now goes before the full State Assembly for consideration.

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