Doing business in Asia Pacific
By: Astri Kimball, OPIC Senior Advisor for Policy and Operations
President Obama recently announced a new OPIC commitment to sustainable power and energy projects in the Asia-Pacific region, as part of the U.S.-Asia-Pacific Comprehensive Energy Partnership (US-ACEP). The Partnership will offer a framework for consolidating and expanding energy and environmental cooperation across existing regional forums to advance efforts to ensure affordable, secure, and cleaner energy supplies for the region. With an estimated $9 trillion needed in investment in electricity alone through 2035 to meet growing demand in the region, there is enormous potential for U.S. industry to play an important role in the region’s energy future.
As the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, OPIC supports U.S. private sector investment in emerging markets by providing financing and risk mitigation tools. Supporting investments in the renewable resources sector and the Asia-Pacific region merge two of OPIC’s top priorities. OPIC brings its vast experience and abilities to support U.S. private investment in a wide variety of renewable resource projects, such as geothermal energy, small-scale hydropower, solar power, wind power, energy efficiency, and biomass.
To support this Partnership, OPIC recently participated in U.S. government training for Economic and Commercial officers in the Asia-Pacific region. OPIC staff also participated in the White House Doing Business in Asia Forum this week, with over 70 U.S. AAPI business leaders attending.
On May 21, OPIC signed an Investment Incentive Agreement with the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth L. Littlefield and His Excellency Dr. Pwint San, Deputy Minister of Commerce of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, signed the agreement at OPIC’s office in Washington, DC. Dr. Pwint San was in Washington as part of a delegation led by President Thein Sein, the first visit by a leader of their country since 1966. This Investment Incentive Agreement is another step in the normalization of our bilateral relations that has taken place over the past two years, including President Obama’s historic trip to Rangoon in November 2012.
The agreement is a significant first step forward in OPIC’s ability to support U.S. businesses who are interested in investing in Burma. As the U.S. government’s development finance institution, OPIC will play an important role in the United States’ continued support for reforms that will bring full economic opportunity to the Burmese people. The U.S. has strongly supported the continued progress on reform by President Thein Sein, his government, Parliament, civil society, and the international community. OPIC continues to work with other U.S. government agencies to make it possible for OPIC to support U.S. private sector investments that contribute to the economic development of the country.
OPIC is also committed to working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as part of the U.S.-Asia-Pacific Comprehensive Energy Partnership. This month, John Moran, OPIC Vice President for Insurance, attended the Asian Development Bank Annual Meetings in New Delhi Moran met with ADB Vice President Private Sector and Co-financing Lakshimi Venkatachalem, and participated in a forum on private sector Asia Finance and Risk Mitigation Forum in Mumbai. He also met with ADB senior staff about how OPIC and ADB might work together on infrastructure projects and renewable energy deals, both on financing and on political risk guarantees.