SACRAMENTO — State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) personally delivered an invitation from Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to Governor Gavin Newsom to visit Armenia. In September, Newsom and Pashinyan met in New York to formalize the historic trade Memorandum of Understanding between California and Armenia. At the meeting they appeared to develop a positive relationship with each other. Glendale based Consul General Armen Baibourtian recognized the strong relationship Portantino has engendered both in Yerevan and in Sacramento and asked Portantino to personally deliver the invitation to the governor.
Portantino had accompanied Pashinyan and Newsom to New York for the event. Included in the comprehensive MOU is the formal establishment of the California International Trade Desk in Yerevan. The Trade Desk was a proposal championed by Portantino.
Following the signing of the MOU, Portantino and Newsom met privately with Pashinyan to discuss increased cooperation between California and Armenia.
The productive establishment of the Trade Desk was the result of a year-long effort by Portantino to formalize trade relations between California and Armenia. The fact that Yerevan is the first California International Trade Desk to be established is a recognition of the impact of the Velvet Revolution, the importance of the California/Armenia relationship and the significant presence Diaspora Armenians have in California.
“It was a tremendous honor to have had the opportunity to deliver a personal invitation from Prime Minister Pashinyan to Governor Newsom. I was pleased to have first met the Prime Minister in Yerevan last year, in Los Angeles and again in New York. Watching and listening to the genuine, warm conversation between the governor and the prime minister has been one of the highlights of my time in office. Having a front row seat for these important economic and historic events is a privilege. I am very grateful to Governor Newsom for his commitment to strengthening our ties with Armenia and I hope he will one day take up the offer to visit Armenia in person like I have,” commented Portantino.
In addition to representing a large and vibrant Armenian-American Community, Portantino is the chair of the State Senate Select Committee on California Armenia Artsakh Art, Trade and Cultural Exchange. He has long-standing positive ties to the Armenian community.