26 February 2008
BISNIS Closes Doors
BISNIS Closes Doors
Open Letter from Philip H. de Leon, BISNIS Director
Dear BISNIS clients, colleagues, partners, and friends,
It is with regret that I inform you of the upcoming closure of the BISNIS program after nearly 16 years of successful operation. Funded by the Freedom Support Act (FSA) since 1992, the Business Information Service for the Newly Independent States (BISNIS) program promoted U.S. exports and investment in Eurasia and generated successful transactions worth more than $4.5 billion. Funding for BISNIS through The Freedom Support Act, which helped countries manage the process of political and economic reform after the collapse of the Soviet Union, expired at the end of September 2007.
As the Director of BISNIS, I would like to thank all of those who contributed to the success of our program. It has been an honor working with you to serve our U.S. and Eurasian business partners. As one of our overseas colleagues recently stated, “BISNIS was one of the best parts of my life, both professionally and personally.” That says it all.
We now pass the baton to our colleagues in the Commercial Service, the premier front-line U.S. trade agency creating prosperity in the United States and abroad. Please, keep in mind that the U.S. Government is a gold mine of information and resources, but only for those who take the time to dig. To facilitate your search, I am including some information below that I hope you will find useful.
Wishing you great success in your business endeavors,
Philip de Leon
SOME USEFUL RESOURCES
While the BISNIS website (www.bisnis.doc.gov) will remain active for several months to come, I would encourage you to also visit www.export.gov for information about the Eurasian and other markets around the world.
A useful and practical resource to help you navigate your way through the vast amount of information available is the Doing Business in Eurasia page at www.bisnis.doc.gov/doingbusiness. This section provides practical information, tips, and referrals to resources within and beyond BISNIS. The following sections will help you identify the issues you may encounter at the different stages of the export or investment process.
1. Export Basics from Export.gov
The U.S. Government’s Export Portal at www.export.gov will help you assess your export readiness, understand the steps involved in exporting, develop and implement an export strategy, and answer exporting questions not tied to a specific country or product.
2. Market Evaluation and Planning
This section will help you evaluate countries and regions, identify industry prospects and trends, understand how to do business in Eurasia and ultimately help you determine which Eurasian market is the best fit for your company’s products and/or services.
3. Getting Your Product to Eurasia - Licensing, Certification, Shipping, Customs
Once you have completed stage two, you will want to understand and plan for the requirements, steps, and costs required to license and certify your product, ship it to Eurasia, pay duties, and clear customs.
4. Find (and Evaluate) Partners and Buyers in Eurasia
This section will assist you to identify and pursue possible buyers or partners, find a distributor or representative, promote your company, and understand how to evaluate potential business partners in Eurasia.
5. Visiting, Opening an Office, and Investing
Learn about business travel, travel warnings, tips, and services for Eurasia. Understand what is required to open an office in several Eurasian markets.
6. Finance your Transaction
Identify possible sources of finance for business activities in Eurasia.
KEY CONTACTS & ORGANIZATIONS
The systematic approach described above should answer most questions about doing business in Eurasia. However, if you still have specific questions about these markets, the following resources should be of assistance to you.
U.S. COMMERCIAL SERVICE
The Trade Information Center (TIC) is a U.S. Commercial Service resource that provides export counseling, international trade guidance, tariff and fee information, and referrals to key contacts in the U.S. Government. You can reach a TIC trade specialist at 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) or consult www.export.gov/exportbasics/ticredirect.asp for additional information.
To directly contact Commercial Service colleagues overseas or at the U.S. Export Assistance Center nearest you, consult the office directory at www.buyusa.gov/home/export.html.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE & OTHER GOVERNMENT RESOURCES
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, which is part of the Market Access and Compliance (MAC) unit, has country desk officers who focus on resolving trade complaints and market access issues, such as those in the area of intellectual property and piracy, quotas, standards, transparency, contract sanctity, and national treatment. MAC coordinates efforts with the Commercial Service’s overseas staff and industry sector experts, as well as with other foreign policy and trade-related government agencies.
MAC Trade Specialists in Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia: http://trade.gov/mac.
Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova:
Christine Lucyk - Christine.Lucyk@mail.doc.gov
Matthew Edwards - Matthew.Edwards@mail.doc.gov and Jay Thompson - Jay.Thompson@mail.doc.gov
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan:
Danica Starks - Danica.Starks@mail.doc.gov or Ellen House - Ellen.House@mail.doc.gov
Political/economic sections of the U.S. embassies in Eurasia as well as the Department of State country desk officers in Washington, D.C. can provide assistance on policy and trade related matters.
Department of State
BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS & OTHER RESOURCES
U.S. based business associations provide valuable sources of information. Eurasian embassies can also be of assistance and some even have trade representations in the United States including Russia and Ukraine. Additionally, local world trade centers have extensive network of contacts to put you in touch with the right person in country.
American Chambers of Commerce Abroad
Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in the USA
U.S. – Russia Business Council
United States – Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce
U.S. – Kazakhstan Business Association
American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce
America – Georgia Business Council
U.S. – Ukraine Business Council
Embassy of Ukraine
World Trade Centers Association