Governor Signs Senator Scott?s Armenia Trade Office Bill

SACRAMENTO(Combined Sources)–Senator Jack Scott’s bill that extends the sunset date for the operation of a privately funded trade office in Armenia has been signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

California–home to about half-a-million Armenian-Americans–conducts most of the nearly 50 million in trade between Armenia and the United States. The trade office is expected to increase business and trade and tourism between California and Armenia.

"This is an important step forward in cementing ties between the people of California and Armenia," said Senator Scott. "It is also a responsible step in these tight economic times. This office is the first privately funded trade office for the state and it will be a win-win for California and Armenia. The trade office will open new and large growth markets for California businesses and investors. For Armenia and its neighbors–the office will generate much-needed business and investment."

The state’s trade office in Armenia opened last week in the capitol city of Yerevan. It was funded with $75,000 in private donations. The Glendale-based Foundation for Economic Development helped create the trade office.

Because the money was raised privately–the state was able to open the office in Armenia even though California’s other foreign trade offices were closed recently because of state budget woes. That could be a model for the state if it opens other foreign trade offices–officials said.

Senator Scott recently completed a fact-finding trip to Armenia where he met with President Robert Kocharian and foreign minister Vartan Oskanian to announce the opening of the trade office.

"The Armenian officials that I met with are very excited about it because they recognize that one of the ways as a developing country they’re going to progress is to count on the expertise and the products that would come from a place like California," said the Senator Scott–who was in Armenia September 19-23. "We will be the first in the nation to reap the trade benefits of the enormous economic potential of this region."

Officials expect that the office will facilitate in the export of information technology and health products going into Armenia and help Armenian businesses export foodstuffs and other products to California.

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