WASHINGTON–DC–Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)–a long-time friend of the New York Armenian community–today agreed to support legislation normalizing trade relations between the United States and Armenia–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
"Senator Schumer has always been a supporter of Armenia and close friend of New York’s Armenian community – dating back to his days representing the Ninth Congressional District–in Brooklyn and Queens–in the US House of Representatives," said ANC-NY Chairperson Tony Vartanian. "We welcome his support for S.R.1557 and look forward to working with him to see that this measure is adopted by the full Senate 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. Permanent normal trade relations (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.