SENATORS ENSIGN AND REED; REP. MCCOLLUM CO-SPONSORS ARMENIA PNTR BILL
WASHINGTON–DC–Support for Senate and House legislation–which would open the door to increased trade between the United States and Armenia–continued to grow this week as Senators John Ensign (R-NV)–Jack Reed (D-RI)–and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) joined as co-sponsors of S.1557 and H.R.528–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Introduced in the House by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ)–the legislation has garnered 110 cosponsors to date. Its companion bill in the Senate was introduced by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY)–Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)–and Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Both bills would extend permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to Republic of Armenia–ensuring lower tariffs on Armenian imports to the US and giving greater Armenian access to US government credit facilities on a permanent basis.
"The Armenian American community in Nevada–Rhode Island–Minnesota–and around the nation thank Senators Ensign and Reed and Representative McCollum for their support of this key Armenia trade measure," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "With the recent positive indications we have been receiving from the Administration–we are hopeful that this measure will be brought to the floor for final approval in the near future."
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.