Scott has been working with state officials and Armenian groups
for three or four years to make the trade office a reality, said Lon
Hatamiya, secretary of the California Technology, Trade and Commerce
"There's an excitement in Armenia about the possibility of this
trade office," Scott said. "There's tremendous interest here. We want
this to be a regional trade office that will make an impact in
Eastern Europe and western Asia."
Scott introduced the bill last year, but it never reached
committee review. Before that, two attempts by his predecessor,
former state senator and now Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Glendale), to
establish a trade office in Yerevan also failed.
The difference this time around, Scott said, is that the bill was
widely supported by the Armenian community, and revisions --
including making the office a three-year pilot program that must be
evaluated at the end of its tenure -- mitigated some of the concerns
about the financial commitment it would require.
"One of our goals is to help Armenia move from a former Soviet
economy to a market economy," said Steven Dadaian, president of the
Armenian National Committee's western region, based in Glendale. "We
thought this would be a great opportunity to pair up the super
economy of California with the growing economy of Armenia."
California has trade offices in Germany, the United Kingdom, Hong
Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, South Africa, Taiwan and Japan. The
cost of setting up the trade center is not known, but the Israel
office was opened for $50,000, Hatamiya said.
"The government of Armenia ... views California as a unique and
important market," said Valery Mkrtoumian, Consul General of the
Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles.