Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council

PM Tymoshenko and U.S. Amb Taylor began work on agreement in Jan of 2008
Three 'Fluent in OPIC' Workshops Announced for Washington, Kyiv, New York City

NEWS RELEASE: U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), Wash, D.C., Thu, Jan 14, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) of the U.S. government recently restored its financing and political risk insurance programs in Ukraine paving the way for American companies to increase their potential private sector investment in Ukraine over the next few years by hundreds of millions of dollars.  

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) announced on December 16, 2009, its programs were available for Ukraine, after several years of being closed for Ukraine, following the signing in Kyiv and Washington, D.C. of an agreement resolving a dispute over an insurance claim paid by OPIC in 1999 to the U.S. sponsor of a project in Ukraine.  

A prolonged inability to settle the dispute resulted in suspension of OPIC programs in the country. Previously, OPIC had provided more than $254 million in financing and insurance to 21 projects in Ukraine, in sectors ranging from manufacturing and construction to energy and financial services. 

Serious work on an agreement to restore OPIC programs for Ukraine was started in January of 2008 by the new Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, and the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine at the time, William Taylor.  

To facilitate rapid implementation of the OPIC programs in Ukraine three "Fluent in OPIC" workshops are being officially announced today. The first workshop will be held in Washington on January 20th, the second in Kyiv, Ukraine on February 10th and the third one in New York City in March.

The workshops are being sponsored by the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) in cooperation with OPIC, the government of Ukraine, the U.S. government's Commercial Service and the Broad Street Capital Group with support from Marks Sokolov & Burd, SigmaBleyzer, Chadbourne & Parke and other sponsors.  Workshops are open to representatives of companies in the USA and in Ukraine. 

Substantial work on an agreement to restore OPIC programs for Ukraine began in earnest in January of 2008 when the new Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, met with the then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor. Prime Minister Tymoshenko in February of 2008 appointed Deputy Prime Minister for European and International Integration of Ukraine, Hrygoriy Nemyria, to take the lead in the negotiations with OPIC on behalf of the Prime Minister and the new Cabinet of Ministers.

The signing of the agreement on December 17, 2009 was the culmination of a series of important meetings between PM Tymoshenko and U.S. Ambassador Taylor and other government officials which resulted in the steps leading to full restoration of OPIC programs in Ukraine, including the November 2008 conclusion of a memorandum of understanding between the two governments, and the July 2009 passage in the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers of a resolution facilitating settlement of the dispute.

Ukrainian DPM Hrygoriy Nemyria spoke to the annual meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), in Washington, D.C. on December 17th and said, "The Tymoshenko government worked hard over a two year period to facilitate the agreement with OPIC and accomplished what previous governments had failed to do.  The government of Ukraine strongly supports investment by U.S. companies and is most pleased to have the major OPIC economic development programs once again available to assist U.S. companies increase their investments in Ukraine." 

“OPIC is pleased to once again make available its support for U.S. investment in Ukraine, a development which we anticipate will send a highly positive signal to prospective investors in the country,” said OPIC Acting President Dr. Lawrence Spinelli on December 17th.

“This historic occasion is indicative of Ukraine’s ongoing efforts to improve its investment climate, and we commend the Ukrainian government for its hard work in bringing about this result. We look forward to working with both U.S. and Ukrainian businesses to facilitate new levels of American investment in Ukraine,' OPIC's Spinelli announced.

U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden also noted the significance of a future OPIC agreement during a visit to Ukraine in July of 2009. “I was pleased to learn that the government has taken the final decision necessary to bring the Overseas Private Investment Corporation back to Ukraine. That will make it easier for American companies to reinvest in Ukraine, and invest in the first place, which will help both our economies in the current downturn,” Mr. Biden said on July 21. 

The three "FLUENT IN OPIC" workshops will present a comprehensive "beyond the website" very practical, hands-on, look on how to effectively utilize OPIC to finance and/or insure business transactions for Ukraine.  The three workshops will address the application process, deal structures, sponsor requirements and commitments, approval procedure, realistic time frame estimates, costs, fees and legal and developmental issues.

The first "FLUENT IN OPIC" workshop will be held from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20, 2010, followed by an "OPIC Open For Business In Ukraine Victory Celebration Reception from 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Both events will be held at the Embassy of Ukraine to the USA, 3350 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.  Information about how to register for the workshops can be obtained by writing to the U.S. Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) at usubc@usubc.org and from the USUBC website, www.usubc.org.

 "The opening of the U.S. government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation's (OPIC) program for Ukraine is a great victory for the business community in Ukraine and the United States and will lead to a considerable increase in U.S. private business investments in Ukraine," said Morgan Williams, head of the SigmaBleyzer government affairs office in Washington, who serves as President of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC). 

"Getting OPIC open for business once again in Ukraine has been a top priority for the members of USUBC for many years" according to Williams.  "USUBC has worked with the U.S. and Ukrainian governments on this issue especially in the last two years.  The work to settle the OPIC issue was led on the Ukraine side by the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko and Hrygoriy Nemyria, Deputy Prime Minister for European and International Integration of Ukraine and on the U.S. side by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, a member of the U.S. Embassy Economic Team, William Klein."

OPIC was established as an agency of the U.S. government in 1971. It helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers.
OPIC’s political risk insurance and financing help U.S. businesses of all sizes invest in more than 150 emerging markets and developing nations worldwide. Over the agency's 38-year history, OPIC has supported $188 billion worth of investments that have helped developing countries to generate over 830,000 host-country jobs. OPIC projects have also generated $72 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 273,000 American jobs. Visit OPIC on the web at www.opic.gov.

Instructors at the Washington, D.C. workshop will include Alexander M. Gordin, Managing Director, Broad Street Capital Group (creators of the "Fluent in Foreign" book and workshop series"); Gerald Stoltz, Esq., Partner, Thompson Coburn, LLP; Gene Burd, Managing Director, Marks Sokolov & Burd; Rod Morris, Vice President, Insurance, OPIC; Tracey Webb, Director, Structured Finance, OPIC, and others to be announced.  Morgan Williams, SigmaBleyzer, who serves as president of USUBC, will be the workshop moderator.

Participation in the Fluent in OPIC" Workshop and Celebration Reception is complimentary for members of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC). The "Fluent in OPIC" Workshop and Celebration Reception registration fee for representatives of businesses/organizations who are not members of USUBC is $250.00. Registrations are now being accepted.

To register for the Workshops and/or the Receptions please send an e-mail to USUBC@USUBC.org.  There is no charge just to attend the Reception. The registration fee is for the workshop. Workshop One: Washington, D.C., January 20th; Workshop Two, Kyiv, Ukraine, February 10; Workshop Three will be held in New York City on a date to be announced soon.

If you have any questions please contact Iryna Teluk, USUBC membership director, at 240 505 9494, or e-mail iteluk@usubc.org.