Congressman Sherman Secures Commitment that OPIC will Continue Policy to not Exclude Armenia
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has received a commitment from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) that its potential successor agency will not approve future projects that deliberately exclude Armenia.
Earlier today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed H.R. 5105, or the BUILD Act. Congressman Sherman is a cosponsor of the BUILD Act, which will require the functions, personnel, assets, liabilities, and policies of OPIC to transfer to the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and expand its authorities.
A long-standing supporter of Armenia, Sherman quickly raised concerns about whether the OPIC policy of not supporting a project that excludes Armenia, will be carried over to the new agency if the bill is enacted.
In a letter, Cameron S. Alford, the Deputy General Counsel of Projects for OPIC, committed to Sherman that the policy would carry over.
Mr. Alford wrote, “OPIC will not support regional projects in the Caucasus that deliberately, by design or effect, exclude Armenia from participation or benefit, unless such exclusion is necessitated by geographic or economic impracticality…Accordingly, this will become the policy of the DFC.”
In the past, Azerbaijan and Turkey have pushed pipeline and rail projects that skirted Armenia, a deliberate decision made no economic or geographic sense, given that a route through Armenia would have been a more direct route and or provided increased economic benefit.
Click here to view the letter from OPIC’s Deputy General Counsel of Projects, Cameron S. Alford.