Sherman presses Obama Administration on U.S. – Armenia aid and trade priorities

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has, in the past week, pressed several Obama Administration officials – including Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and USAID Administrator Gayle Smith – for answers about proposed cuts in aid to Artsakh, foot-dragging on a U.S.-Armenia Double Tax Treaty, and the level of support being provided to help Armenia support refugees from Syria, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

In a U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday, Rep. Sherman cited the importance of a U.S.-Armenia Tax treaty to build upon ongoing U.S. assistance to Armenia, and pressed for the negotiation of such an accord. Responding to Secretary Lew’s assertion that there there is no need for a Double Tax Treaty with Armenia, Rep. Sherman described the situation as a “chicken and egg” scenario, stating, “You don’t get the business investment, because you don’t have the tax treaty. Then you don’t need the tax treaty because you don’t have the business investment. Given that this Congress has provided well over a billion dollars in aid to Armenia, it would be seem that having one member of your staff to achieve the same objectives would be appropriate.” Rep. Sherman and Secretary Lew agreed to work together to review the matter.

“The ANCA thanks Representative Sherman for pressing Secretary Lew about the lack of a U.S.-Armenia Double Tax Treaty, and, more broadly, for his consistently principled and powerful leadership in supporting the views and values of Americans of Armenian heritage and all friends of Armenia,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We echo the points he raised today and join with him in working to remove a key barrier to the growth of U.S.-Armenia trade and investment. A Double Tax Treaty would strengthen our bilateral economic relationship, reinforce the longstanding bonds of friendship between the American and Armenian peoples, foster economic growth and opportunity in both nations, and provide Armenia with greater strategic options in dealing with regional powers.”

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