California International Trade Office in Armenia Gets Seed Money

GLENDALE–The Armenian National Committee of America–Western Region (ANCA-WR) presented a check for $10,000 to the State of California to begin funding the California International Office in Armenia (CITO). The check was presented by representatives of the ANCA-WR to State Senator Jack Scott (D-Pasadena) on February 26 at the ANCA-WR offices in Glendale.

The CITO is slated to open in May of this year in Armenia and is to be operated by the Foundation for Economic Development (FED)–a non-profit organization. The CITO is set to serve not only as a model for other California trade missions abroad–but also as a foreign trade hub by promoting trade between California and former Soviet republics.

"As the largest Armenian-American grassroots political organization in the nation–the ANCA and the ANCA-WR felt that we needed to step up to the plate and ensure that the California Trade Office in Armenia will have the initial funds needed to get off on the right foot as it launches later this year," stated Steven Dadaian–Chairman of the ANCA-WR Board of Directors. "We look forward to continuing to support the CITO both financially and politically in the coming years."

The State of California has historically maintained international trade offices around the world. However–due to California’s current state budget deficit–the state will stop funding the trade offices. California has–however–agreed to allow the CITO in Armenia to open because the office will be funded with private donations and could serve as a public-private partnership model for operating trade offices in other countries.

"We are very grateful for the ANCA-WR’s great generosity in making such a significant financial commitment to the CITO," remarked FED Chairman Berdj Karapetian. "The contributions of community organizations such as the ANCA-WR and individual donors will help the CITO bring new economic opportunities to Armenia."

"We have been supportive of the CITO since the idea was first proposed by State Senators Jack Scott and Charles Poochigian in 2001 and this donation demonstrates to the community that the first important step has been taken," said Leonard Manoukian–a member of the Board of Directors of the ANCA-WR.

The Friends of the California Trade Office in Armenia–an organization of individuals and community groups who support the CITO–has planned a number of functions to raise funds for the $75,000 needed to operate the CITO in 2005. For more information on such events–please call the ANCA-WR office at (818) 500-1918 or e-mail ancawr@anca.org.

Photo caption: ANCA-WR Board Member Leonard Manoukian–Senator Jack Scott–Vahik Gourjian–and ANCA-WR Board Member Ara Bedrosian

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