October 14, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Talin Gregorian
tel: (818) 500-1918

GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER SIGNS CALIFORNIA-ARMENIA TRADE OFFICE BILL

SACRAMENTO, CA – SB 897, the California-Armenia Trade Office Bill, has been signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR).

The Bill, which extends the sunset date for the operation of the California International Trade and Investment Office in Yerevan, Armenia to the year 2008, was introduced in February of this year by State Senator Jack Scott (D-Pasadena), and most recently passed in both the California State Assembly and Senate with overwhelming bi-partisan support, having gained a vote of 77-1 in the Assembly and 32-1 in the Senate. The trade office was officially opened on October 3, 2005 in Armenia.

“This is an important step forward in cementing ties between the people of California and Armenia,” stated Senator Scott who recently returned from a visit to Armenia. “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 director of the trade office, Arthur Khachatryan, will be visiting the Los Angeles area from October 19-21, and will meet with business and political leadership from the area in efforts to promote and create strong business relationships for the office.

For over five years, the ANCA-WR has worked to improve trade relations between California and Armenia. In 2002, SB 897 was established as State law with a sunset date for the trade office set for January 1, 2006.

“We appreciate the support of the Governor on this issue, and we look forward to the fruits of stronger business and trade relations between California and Armenia. The establishment of this office in Armenia now ties it with the world’s sixth largest economy, California. Though California once had once had over a dozen such offices, the Armenian Trade Office is the only one of its kind currently. We believe that this strong business anchor will through its synergy benefit the economies of both Armenia and California,” said Steven Dadaian, Chairman of the ANCA-WR.

In the months leading up to the signing of the Bill, ANCA-WR Regional Director Armen Carapetian delivered testimony in the Capitol to secure passage of SB 897 in key committees and met with Assemblymembers and staff to galvanize support for the measure.

The principal coauthors of SB 897 were Senators Chuck Poochigian (R-Fresno) and Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo), Assemblymen Juan Arambula (D-Fresno) and Dario Frommer (D-Glendale), as well as coauthors Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), and Assemblymembers Greg Aghazarian (R-Stockton) and Carol Liu (D-Pasadena).

The ANCA is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues.

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