March 25, 2009

Kerry, Lugar Push to Reauthorize Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined with Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the ranking Republican on the Committee, to reauthorize a vital foreign policy and economic development tool - the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Kerry and Lugar introduced legislation in the Senate to reauthorize OPIC for an additional four years. OPIC was established as an independent U.S. government agency in 1971 to help U.S. businesses and promote projects in support of our foreign policy interests. OPIC operates at no net cost to taxpayers: charging market-based fees for its products and operating on a self-sustaining basis. Over its 38 year history, OPIC projects have generated more than $72 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 273,000 American jobs while supporting over $188 billion worth of investments that have helped developing countries generate almost $15 billion in host-government revenues leading to over 821,000 host-country jobs.

"This bill reauthorizes an important foreign policy tool that encourages U.S. private sector companies to invest in poorer countries and improve their economic and social development," said Chairman Kerry. "More importantly, OPIC generates income and jobs for Americans at a time when the economic downturn has hit people especially hard."

Senator Lugar said, "Over its history, OPIC projects have supported American jobs and American exports at no net cost to the American taxpayer. In fact, OPIC regularly earns funds above expenses which are reflected in the Federal Budget," Lugar said. "OPIC highlights and deploys one of our strongest national tools - private enterprise - in the service of social and economic development. In this role, OPIC effectively supports and complements our foreign policy."

OPIC's financing and political risk insurance help U.S. businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises, to compete in emerging markets and meet the challenges of investing overseas when private sector support is not available. OPIC promotes U.S. best practices by requiring that projects adhere to international standards.

Press Contact

Frederick Jones (Kerry) 202-224-4651
Andy Fisher (Lugar) (202) 224-2079