SENATOR IS WIDELY VIEWED BY HIS COLLEAGUES AS THE LEADING CONGRESSIONAL VOICE ON FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES
WASHINGTON–DC Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)–Chairman of the influential Foreign Relations Committee–cosponsored legislation to normalize trade relations between the United States and Armenia on Tuesday–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
"The support of Chairman Lugar–who enjoys such broad respect for his leadership on foreign policy issues–is deeply appreciated by Armenian Americans from Indiana and across the nation–said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We are hopeful that the Senate leadership will act soon on this legislation and that it will be enacted into law at the earliest opportunity."
The legislation–S.1557–was introduced this August by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY)–Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)–and Barbara Boxer (D-CA). When enacted–it will extend permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to Republic of Armenia. 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)–now has 108 cosponsors.
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.
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.