Urges Key Congressional Panels to Extend the Generalized System of Preferences

July 17, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC – In letters sent this week to members of two key Congressional committees, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) called for the extension of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a long-standing system that extends duty-free treatment to many products imported from Armenia and over 130 other developing nations.

The GSP program, which has been in place for over twenty-five years, expired at the end of the last fiscal year, on September 30th, 2001. The Congress has failed, over the past nine months, to adopt legislation necessary to renew the program. As a result, imports from Armenia and other GSP-eligible nations have encountered an effective increase in duty costs, making them less competitive in the market place and harming both their Armenian producers and their American importers.

The Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act, a far-reaching legislative vehicle that includes, among its many provisions, a section extending GSP, has been approved in both the Senate and House. Differences in the two versions of the legislation are set to be reconciled in a Conference Committee, although no firm date has yet been set for this to take place. The House version would extend GSP for one year, while the Senate version calls for a five-year extension of the program. The ANCA supports the Senate term of five years.

In letters to members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian noted that Armenian Americans are “particularly concerned about the impact that the lapsing of GSP has had on the growing level of trade between the United States and Armenia. For many Armenian American businesses, the duty savings afforded by GSP represent the difference between turning a profit and facing serious hardships. For Armenia, the absence of GSP has had a chilling effect on exports and may, if this situation is not corrected, adversely impact the level of trade with the United States.”

The ANCA letter also outlined other areas in which Armenian Americans are working to strengthen U.S.-Armenia ties, namely: advocacy in California to open a Trade Office in Yerevan; support for the Governor of Virginia establishing an Advisory Commission on expanding relations with Armenia; support for Armenia’s membership in the World Trade Organization by the end of this year, and; efforts to encourage the negotiation of a Tax Treaty, Social Security Agreement, and other bilateral economic arrangements with Armenia.

More broadly, Hamparian also highlighted the benefits of GSP to American consumers and U.S. business operating in Armenia and throughout the developing world. He noted that, in fiscal year 2000, American consumers saved over $500 million due to the duty-free treatment of exports from under-developed nations.

For additional information on efforts to extend the GSP, visit:


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Razmig Tchaghlasian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
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