THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
WASHINGTON, April 4 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a fact sheet on the trade and investment component of the U.S. assistance package for Russia announced at the summit in Vancouver:
Current U.S. bilateral trade with Russia is only $3.4 billion, and even though American companies are the largest investors in Russia, total U.S. investment is estimated at only $400 million. A significant expansion in bilateral trade and investment is among the best ways to assist Russia in making the transition to market democracy. Creating the necessary business climate is a task that basically rests with Russia, but the U.S. government can play a catalytic role in helping to remove obstacles blocking projects already under discussion, improve the environment for business and develop the commercial infrastructure.
Business Development Committee: President Clinton is making bilateral trade and investment growth with Russia a major priority. Implementation is centered in the U.S.-Russia Business Development Committee (BDC) co-chaired by Secretary of Commerce Brown and Deputy Prime Minister Shokhin. Secretary Brown will travel to Moscow to begin the process in May. The BDC will be the primary vehicle to help identify and remove impediments to trade and investment, unblock specific U.S. investment projects, press for Russian government policy reforms, and improve the commercial infrastructure for bilateral commercial growth. The BDC meeting will focus on eliminating obstacles to investment in the energy sector, and will include a high level session of the Defense Conversion Subcommittee.
Generalized System of Preference:
President Clinton seeks to extend the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) to Russia to provide duty-free treatement for a broad range of Russian exports. Over 440 million of Russian goods will benefit.
The United States will support Russia's application to become a member of the GATT, and will help build the institutions necessary for Russia to become a full GATT member.
American Business Centers:
The administration will open four American Business Centers in Russia this year to help American and Russian companies do business with each other and to serve as business incubators.
Export Control Development:
Technical assistance will be provided to Russia to improve its export controls development. An effective Russian export control system would allow the sale of higher levels of technology to Russi to assist the reform and modernization of the Russian economy.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States has just finalized an $82 million loan to finance sale of Catepillar pipeline construction machinery for Gazprom. This equipment will be used on construction of a gas pipeline in the Yarnal Peninsula region of Russia.
OPIC Investment Support: The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has approved its first loan and major insurance coverage to a private commercial venture in Russia, a $150 million package consisting of a $50 milion loan guarantee and $100 million investment insurance coverage to support CONOCO's $300 million "Polar Lights" project.
TDA Feasibility Study Grants:
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) is granting $1.4 million for oil and gas feasibility studies, as part of a package of TDA grants totaling $3.8 million.
Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT): 300 additional internships with American companies are being created for business executives, enterpreneurs and scientists under the Commerce Department's highly successful busines internship program. This doubles the number of Russians who will acquire on-the-job experience in a market economy. ($2 million).
Total Trade and Investment Development Program:
$9 million in direct program expenditures; trade and
investment loans and guarantees; expanded trade and investment.
/U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/