Support Growing Among Congressional Candidates for Expanded US Armenia Trade

–Responses to 2004 Candidate Questionnaires Reveal Strong Support for PNTR for Armenia

WASHINGTON–DC–Congressional candidates from around the nation strongly support legislation aimed at expanding US-Armenia trade relations–according to responses to multi-issue candidate questionnaires circulated this election season by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Challengers and incumbents from both parties have stressed their support for legislation that would grant Armenia Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status. This measure–which is being spearheaded in the Senate by Senator Mitch McConnell and in the House by Congressman Joe Knollenberg–may win final approval before the Congress goes out of session this year.

"Armenian Americans have been tremendously encouraged by the growing support for PNTR legislation for Armenia and remain hopeful that it will be enacted prior to the end of the Congressional session," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA.

A sample of response on US-Armenia trade is provided below to offer a sense of the strong bipartisan support for this issue:

–Illinois Congressman John Shimkus–representing the southern part of the State–noted in his response to the ANCA Candidate Questionnaire: "I support extending permanent normal trade relations between the United States and Armenia as a means of strengthening the bonds and the commitment between our nations."

–Congressman Eric Cantor–the Chief Deputy Majority Whip and a long-time friend of the Richmond Armenian community–explained: "The ascension of Armenia to the World Trade Organization will begin to stabilize trade relations with the United States. It is a step in the right direction because free trade with Armenia will have a positive effect on not only the economy of that country but that of the United States as well. All free trade promotes job creation and economic growth throughout the world; by helping Armenia we are helping the American economy prosper."

–First-term Congressman from Michigan–Thaddeus McCotter–who has already emerged as a leading member of the Armenian Caucus–stated: "Our two great nations will only grow stronger by trading together. I signed a letter supporting Armenian PNTR in the House and will continue to work to see it signed into law."

–Candidate Robert Neeld–from the Gulf Coast of Florida–who is seeking to fill the seat vacated by new Director of Central Intelligence Porter Goss–wrote: "Favorable trading agreemen’s benefit both countries and would continue to stimulate Armenia’s economy."

The ANCA Congressional Candidate Questionnaire includes nine different questions on the topics of the Armenian genocide; US support for Armenia and Karabagh; US-Armenia economic relations; self-determination for Karabagh; conditions on US aid to Azerbaijan; the Turkish blockade of Armenia; and the US subsidy of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline bypass of Armenia.

"As in past years–we are pleased that candidates for Congress have taken such full advantage of our questionnaires to speak directly to Armenian American voters on issues of special concern to our community," noted Hamparian.

For an Adobe PDF version of the ANCA Questionnaire–visit:

www.anca.org/election/candidate_questionnaires.asp

or

www.anca.org/assets/pdf/questionnaires/CQuest2004.pdf

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