Joining forces to help American businesses, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) and the US Commercial Service have concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing the two agencies to work together to support US trade and investment overseas.

“Individually, Opic and the US Commercial Service provide American companies with valuable services for their expansion into emerging markets. Through this historic agreement, we will provide a comprehensive network of support that is greater than the sum of its parts to US businesses, both large and small,” says Opic president and CEO Peter Watson. “Both the agencies and the US businesses we serve will benefit greatly from this agreement.”

Assistant secretary of commerce and commercial service director Maria Cino says, “Ninety-seven percent of US exporters are small and medium-sized companies. These businesses are the backbone of the American economy, and we look forward to working with Opic to help them enter new international markets and create jobs and opportunity here at home.”

The MOU calls for strengthening of institutional ties, increased information-sharing and cross-training of personnel, and cooperation in implementing export and investment development activities.

The US Commercial Service is a Commerce Department agency unit that helps US companies, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, make export sales. The agency’s worldwide network includes 105 US Export Assistance Centers and more than 150 international offices. Last year, the US Commercial Service helped American companies make more than US$23bn in export sales. For more information on the US Commercial Service, please visit its

Opic was established as an agency of the US government in 1971. It helps US 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 US 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 US businesses of all sizes invest in more than 150 emerging markets and developing nations worldwide. Over the agency’s 32-year history, Opic has supported US$145bn worth of investments that have helped developing countries to generate over US$11bn in host-government revenues and create over 680,000 host-country jobs. Opic projects have also generated US$65bn in US exports and created more than 254,000 American jobs.