US Exim has signed a US$1bn memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Russian bank Sberbank, to increase US exports to CIS countries.

Under the agreement, the two banks will finance up to US$1bn in US exports to buyers in Russia and the CIS region until 2014, with a possibility to increase support if demand exceeds the original amount.

US Exim expects the MOU to support sales in the aviation, infrastructure and energy sectors. The export credit agency (ECA) says it will consider providing direct, medium and long-term financing to Sberbank, as well as guarantees and export credit insurance to third parties lending to finance US export transactions. Financing could be provided in the form of credit guarantee facilities, specific transaction financing, supplier credits, and guarantees, it adds.

Signed at the ongoing St Petersburg International Economic Forum, the MOU will enhance business relationships between corporates in the two regions, and includes joint training and other initiatives to improve understanding of each government’s programme.

US Exim chairman and president Fred Hochberg says: “We believe there are tremendous opportunities for US exporters to sell into these markets. We look forward to working with Sberbank to make sure US companies can provide Russia with the best goods and services available to meet the growing economic opportunities in Russia and other CIS countries.”

Sberbank’s chairman and CEO Herman Gref adds: “It’s the first time that Sberbank has signed such a massive agreement for co-operation with US Exim, aimed at tapping the enormous potential that exists for US-Russia trade and investment. We see great opportunities, especially for the aviation finance and leasing sector, and also for the infrastructure and energy sectors, including both conventional and renewable energy.”

US Exim’s exposure in Russia at the FY 2011 was approximately US$315mn.