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Gov. Gray Davis Signs Bill Establishing California Trade and Investment Office in Armenia

Staff Report

Less than a few weeks after the California State legislature voted in both chambers in favor of establishing a California international trade and investment office in the Republic of Armenia, Governor Gray Davis signed Senate Bill 1657, introduced by Senator Jack Scott (D-Pasadena).

California will now become the first state in the United States to have a trade presence in Armenia. Armenia, which in 1991 gained its independence from the Soviet Union, was the first former Soviet Republic to privatize agriculture and continues to privatize small businesses and state-run enterprises. Since independence, the Republic has shown steady positive economic growth while maintaining a stable currency. It has been hailed as a model democratic republic in the region and represents the ideal location for a California trade office.

Senator Chuck Poochigian (R-Fresno) was co-author of the measure, SB 1657, creating an international trade and investment office in Yerevan, Armenia. Poochigian, said, “I am pleased our legislative efforts will result in the establishment of an Armenian trade office. This venture promises to expand and strengthen relations between California and Armenia, demonstrating the importance of a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Unlike other current trade offices, the California-Armenia trade office not only requires a comprehensive evaluation of its success but will require new authorization by the State for its operation beyond January 1, 2006. The study of the office’s economic impact on trade, investment and tourism in California and the Trans-Caucasus region would be a model for other current and future trade offices.

The State of California currently has trade offices in Germany, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, the Republic of South Africa, Taiwan, and Japan.