Momentum Builds in Support of Key Armenia Trade Measure

SENATORS SUNUNU–FEINSTEIN COSPONSOR ARMENIA PNTR BILL

WASHINGTON–DC – Support for Senate and House legislation which would open the door to increased trade between the United States and Armenia continued to grow this week as Senators John Sununu (R-NH) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) joined as co-sponsors of S.1557–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). This legislation–which was introduced in August by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY)–Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)–and Barbara Boxer (D-CA)–would extend permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to Republic of Armenia.

"We welcome the support of Senators Sununu and Feinstein for normalizing US-Armenia trade relations," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "We look forward to working with their offices on this and other initiatives to further expand the US-Armenia economic relationship – ranging from a Social Security Agreement and Bilateral Tax Treaty to a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and an eventual US-Armenia free trade arrangement."

The companion measure in the House–H.R.528–introduced by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ)–has now garnered 107 cosponsors–with the recent additions of Representatives William Delahunt (D-MA)–Jim Gerlach (R-PA)–John Kline (R-MN)–Barbara Lee (D-CA)–and Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA). The legislation would ensure lower tariffs on Armenian imports to the US and give greater Armenian access to US government credit facilities on a permanent basis.

Permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status ensures lower duties on Armenian imports to the US–creating incentives for increased trade and investment opportunities between the two countries. As such–the measure strengthens bilateral relations between the two countries and helps reinforce the enduring friendship between the American and Armenian peoples. Increased US-Armenia trade and investment also helps to offset the impact of the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades–estimated by the World Bank at up to $720 million a year.

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