ANCA: Senate Adjourns Before Adopting Armenia Trade Provision

Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th St., NW, Suite 904
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
E-mail: [email protected]

October 12, 2004
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918


— U.S. House Gave Final Approval Last Week to Extending
Permanent Normal Trade Relations Status to Armenia

— Post-Adjournment Session May Approve Measure After Election

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators left Washington yesterday to hit the
campaign trail before taking up a large trade bill that includes a
provision to permanently normalize trade between the U.S. and
Armenia, reported the Armenian National Committee Of America

The failure of the Senate to act on this provision, which grants
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status to Armenia, was due
to entirely unrelated concerns about other parts of the larger
trade measure, H.R.1047 – the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical
Corrections Act. The U.S. House passed this bill on October 8th.
The last opportunity for Congress to approve this measure during
the 108th Congress will be during a rare post-adjournment session
of Congress – either before or, more likely, after the November 2nd
election. This session will deal primarily with approving
appropriations bills and finalizing legislation on intelligence

Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) was the first to
raise the issue of Armenia PNTR in Congress. His legislation,
H.R.528, introduced last year was supported by the Armenian Caucus
and cosponsored 112 other Members of Congress. A companion bill
was introduced on the Senate side by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
and cosponsored by 21 other Senators. The strong support for these
measures paved the way for serious consideration of their inclusion
by members of Congress negotiating the final version of the larger
trade measure.

“We want to thank Congressman Knollenberg, Senator McConnell and
all those who played a role in bringing Armenia PNTR to the brink
of final adoption,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
“While we would have liked to have seen the Senate act before
adjourning, we remain hopeful that this measure will be enacted
into law before the end of the 108th Congress.”

Over the past two years, the ANCA has worked, in Washington, DC and
in local communities throughout the country to generate bipartisan
support for this trade measure among legislators, including those
serving on key trade subcommittees. This trade bill represents a
core element of the ANCA’s efforts to expand bilateral economic
relations, provide new commercial opportunities, and further
strengthen the enduring bonds between the American and Armenian
peoples. Over ten thousand pro-Armenia activists sent ANCA
WebFaxes to Congress, thousands more made phone calls in support of
PNTR, and this important issue was raised in several hundred
Congressional visits, both in District Offices and the nation’s
capital. The sample ANCA WebFax letter for activists included
several reasons to support this legislation, among them:

* Increased U.S.-Armenia trade and investment advances U.S.
foreign policy by strengthening Armenia’s free market economic
development and integration into the world economy.

* Expanded U.S.-Armenia commercial relations will strengthen
bilateral relations and reinforces the enduring friendship between
the American and Armenian peoples.

* Adoption of PNTR for Armenia will help offset – at no cost to
U.S. taxpayers – the devastating impact of the dual Turkish and
Azerbaijani blockades, estimated by the World Bank as costing
Armenia up to a third of its entire GDP (as much as $720 million
annually) and half of its exports.

The Trade Act of 1974 excluded all Soviet countries from having
normal trade relations (NTR) status with the United States. One
particular provision of the Act, known as the Jackson-Vanik
amendment, required the President to deny NTR to those countries
that restricted free emigration. The policy was adopted, in part,
in response to Communist government restrictions on the emigration
of Jews. According to the terms of the Jackson-Vanik amendment,
when the President determines that freedom of emigration rights
have been reinstated in a country, normal trade relations may be
granted. To maintain NTR, the President must report to Congress
twice a year that Jackson-Vanik requirements have been met. While
successive Presidents have waived the Jackson-Vanik Amendment
restrictions on Armenia during the past decade, the passage of the
Knollenberg bill, would grant Armenia permanent normal trade
relations status, without the need for semi-yearly Presidential

The depth of American support for Armenia PNTR was made clear in
the responses from around the nation to the multi-issue candidate
questionnaires circulated this election season by the ANCA.
Challengers and incumbents from both parties have stressed their
support for legislation that would grant Armenia Permanent Normal
Trade Relations (PNTR) status.

The text of the Armenia PNTR provision in H.R.1047 is provided

Title II, Section 2001

Subtitle A – Miscellaneous Provisions


(a) FINDINGS. ­ Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Armenia has been found to be in full compliance with the
freedom of emigration requirements under title IV of the Trade Act
of 1974.

(2) Armenia acceded to the World Trade Organization on February 5,

(3) Since declaring its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991,
Armenia has made considerable progress in enacting free-market

(4) Armenia has demonstrated a strong desire to build a friendly
and cooperative relationship with the United States and has
concluded many bilateral treaties and agreements with the United

(5) Total United States-Armenia bilateral trade
for 2002 amounted to more than $134,200,000.


Notwithstanding any provision of title IV of the Trade Act of 1974
(19 U.S.C. 2431 et seq.), the President may:

(1) determine that such title should no longer apply to Armenia;

(2) after making a determination under paragraph (1) with respect
to Armenia, proclaim the extension of nondiscriminatory treatment
(normal trade relations treatment) to the products of that country.


On and after the effective date of the extension under subsection
(b)(2) of nondiscriminatory treatment to the products of Armenia,
title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 shall cease to apply to that