Executive Briefing on Eurasian Business is organized by the UNLV Center for Democratic Culture and the Department of Foreign Languages Russian Language Program of UNLV, with the support of the Las Vegas U.S. Export Assistance Center.

10 Years of Lessons Learned

  • U.S. Department of Commerce BISNIS assistance for your company: information and business development through Russian-language promotion, Russian-language information tools, U.S. and Eurasian experts, finance, multimedia conferencing, reports, and trade & investment leads;
  • Geographic territory/themes to be covered: Moscow retail development, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan/Caspian Basin, Moldova and possibly St. Petersburg, Russia;
  • Industries to be covered: Trade and Project Finance, Energy, Retail — Real Estate Development, Construction, Gaming, Medical, Agribusiness, IT;
  • Question & Answer Session to follow presentation.

BISNIS is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and was founded in 1992 to assist in the economic development and transition of the former Soviet Union states by assisting U.S. companies to export and invest in the region. Since 1992, BISNIS has helped U.S. companies generate over $3.212 billion of export and investment transactions. In 2002 BISNIS was recognized by Forbes Magazine as “One of the Best of the Web” for information on Eurasia. The website that BISNIS specialists maintain reports, events, and leads is visited by over 1 million viewers each month. Moreover, BISNIS has excited new programs to help your company create and edit at anytime your own personal profile used for receiving information on any industry or country of Eurasia. As well, BISNIS launched ExpoLink Eurasia as a free Russian-language advertisement tool for U.S. companies to find Eurasian customers and partners.

Profile of Speakers
Jeffrey Kamins has been an International Trade Specialist at BISNIS in Washington, D.C. since 2000, and has over 5 years experience working in private sector, non-profit and government with Eurasian countries. Mr. Kamins holds an MBA in Global Management from Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management. Mr. Kamins advises U.S. companies on how to export to the former Soviet Union in the sectors of aviation, construction, automotive, certification, franchising, ebusiness, and chemicals. As part of his industry focus he is assisting in the development of U.S franchising in Russia, as well as working closely with several Fortune 100 companies in making substantial investments into Eurasia. Kamins is the co-architect and Program Manager of the new BISNIS ExpoLink Eurasia Program –— online catalog of U.S. companies in Russian-language, which is a very useful and cost-effective tool for U.S. small and medium-sized companies. He has been Country Manager at BISNIS for Ukraine for 2 years and currently is Country Manager for Kazakhstan and Moldova. He is also the Founder of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova (1997). Kamins has lived in Belgium, Moldova, Czech Republic and speaks Russian and Spanish.

  • Andriy Vorobyov has been a Representative of BISNIS in Ukraine since 2000. Mr. Vorobyov advises local companies on how to work with U.S. businesses and to find U.S. partner and also counsels U.S. companies on different issues related to doing business in Ukraine. Mr. Vorobyov graduated from the National Agricultural University of Ukraine in Kiev, with a Bachelor Degree in Economics. He also had an internship at the College of Education, Iowa State University. Mr. Vorobyov has played leadership roles in organizing BISNIS/Commercial Service product literature shows in several industries in Ukraine, organizing a small/medium-sized business seminar in Kharkiv, Ukraine “Generating Trade and Investment Opportunities for Small and Medium Businesses”, and has recruited/led a delegation of 30 business delegates from Ukraine to Las Vegas for the International Builder Show 2003. Covering a market of 50 million people, Mr. Vorobyov has strategically developed a network for multiplier business associations that help to procure leads for U.S. companies, disseminate information on U.S. companies, co-organize events, and contribute to regional market reports. Prior to BISNIS Vorobyov had international experience with the Ministry of Agricultural Policy of Ukraine, where he worked within the Foreign Relations office for two years. His main responsibilities were developing business relations between U.S. and Ukrainian businesses and attracting investment to the Ukrainian agricultural sector. Mr. Vorobyov has been twice to the United States since 1997 and is fluent in English and Russian.

  • Bakhtiyar Mamedov joined BISNIS as the Country Representative in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2001. He has previous banking experience working for Bank One in Houston, TX, and is currently responsible for generating business leads, trades and tenders, as well as writing market, industry, and regional reports on Azerbaijan. Mr. Mamedov is closely following the oil & gas infrastructure projects and developments in Azerbaijan and is fully utilizing his American education in the service of US commercial interests. He plays a pivotal role in helping U.S. companies enter the Azeri oil and gas market, as well as the subcontracting sector for oil and gas. He has lead a delegation of 9 Azeri construction companies to the International Builder Show 2003 and helping U.S. companies here to develop business with them. Mr. Mamedov earned his BA in International Law from Higher Diplomatic College, (HDC), Baku, 1997, and sponsored by SOROS Scholarship came to Southeastern Louisiana University, (SLU), where he received his MBA, May 2000. While at HDC, he served as President of the Students Body, and received the University President’s Award for Excellent Diplomatic Skills. At SLU Mr. Mamedov developed marketing plans for Louisiana businesses and has seen his ideas utilized and adopted. Mamedov is a Member of the MBA Society at SLU College of Business.

  • Dr. Irina Belinskaya has been General Director of the St. Petersburg, Russia Construction Centre since 1995, and is Member of Construction Committee of Association North-West, Member of Inter-regional North-West Construction Chamber, Member of Expert Council of International Union of Building Centres (UICB). Dr. Belinskaya holds is a Doctor of Economic Science. Her prior work experience includes being Deputy Director of scientific-innovation association “DELO.” She has led a Russian delegation of construction companies to Las Vegas for the International Builder Show.

Market Information
Ukraine (48.416 million people) is a country of nearly 50 million people in close proximity to the markets of Central and Western Europe and the Middle East. The country's vast agricultural potential, its highly educated population, its transportation networks and the technological infrastructure it inherited from the Soviet Union provide Ukraine with excellent preconditions for strong economic growth. Upon gaining its independence in 1991 Ukraine focused attention on consolidating its nascent state and did not implement the types of deep structural reforms that laid the basis for rapid economic growth in some parts of Eastern Europe. Instead, it adopted a "go slow" approach to economic reform that led to nine years of successive economic declines. However, the pace of reform in Ukraine has accelerated since 1999, and the economy has realized unprecedented growth of 5.8% in 2000 and 7% in 2001. Moreover, Ukraine has managed to restructure its Paris Club debts, and overall international credit rating agencies have given Ukraine successive increases. U.S. Export-Import Bank is open for medium-term trade financing again, after being closed in Ukraine for over 3 years. Ukraine is becoming a much more enticing place for U.S. exporters to look at for market penetration.
Leading sectors for U.S. exports include: Agricultural machinery, equipment, and chemicals; electrical power systems efficient energy products, automotive parts and components; medical equipment; building materials; air traffic control equipment; oil and gas field machinery; pharmaceuticals; food processing and packaging equipment; agriculture chemicals, construction materials, food processing and packaging equipment, various industrial machinery, computer hardware, peripherals, software, telecommunications equipment, wireless and cellular.

The Russian Federation (144.8 million people) economy is increasingly producing good news: strong GDP growth, burgeoning foreign exchange reserves and trade surpluses. Inflation is moderate by earlier standards, the currency is stable, reform of the tax code is well advanced and beginning to show early positive results, and the regulatory framework is improving. By mid 2001 Russia showed strong signs of continuing its economic growth for the third consecutive year. GDP for 2000 was around USD 251 billion, and official estimates cite GDP growth of 3-4 percent for 2001. What is known is that the pent-up demand for a wide range of capital equipment is enormous. Should Russia's economic growth continue - and the scenarios under which it will continue grow more numerous — then at some point, major purchase contracts will be signed. Moscow Retail Development (almost 10 million people) - The Russian retail market will grow 8 percent in 2002. The Moscow retail market will grow faster to Rb 1.3-1.5 billion ($40-50 million) expected for 2002 versus Rb 886.4 million reported for 2001. Retail space in Moscow doubled last year, reaching 438,500 square meters, with expectations of doubling again in 2003 according to Styles & Ryabokobylko www.snr-realty.com Moscow went from updating individual stores to groups of stores like TsUM and Petrovsky Passazh. Then big stores like IKEA and Ramstore appeared, drawing customers to certain locations rather than relying on passers-by. Now Moscow is ready to support malls offering restaurants, entertainment and sports. The largest mall in Eastern Europe opened in southern Moscow this December housing IKEA Russia, the local division of Swedish furniture maker IKEA, among other major retailers in the new 150,000-square-meter shopping center MEGA. IKEA www.ikea.com has recognized its Moscow stores to be the largest and most profitable in the world. Leading sectors for U.S. exports include: construction materials, do-it-yourself products, and equipment; high-fashion apparel and consumer electronics, home entertainment systems, drugs and pharmaceuticals, beauty and health products, franchising opportunities in multiple-industry service sectors, packaging equipment, grocery fresh and frozen foods; furniture, computers, peripherals and computer software; automotive aftermarket parts and services equipment.

Kazakhstan (14.840 million people) In 2001, Kazakhstan’s economy continued its robust growth, fueled by increased production of oil, metals, and grain. GDP grew 13.2% in 2001; lower, but still strong, GDP growth is expected for 2002. The budget maintained a small surplus 2001, as in 2000. However, the government does expect a small deficit in 2002 and 2003. In March 2002, the U.S. Department of Commerce graduated Kazakhstan to market economy status under the U.S. anti-dumping law. The change in status recognized substantive market economy reforms in the areas of currency convertibility, wage rate determination, openness to foreign investment, and government control over the means of production and allocation of resources. Oil and mineral exports have driven economic growth and attracted significant foreign investment — over $16 billion since 1993. The Tengiz oil field, developed by the TengizChevrOil joint venture, established by the government and Chevron in 1993 and subsequently expanded to include ExxonMobil and Lukarco, is the flagship foreign investment project in Kazakhstan. While Kazakhstan’s current oil production of almost 800,000 barrels/day (40 Million Metric Tons/Year) is relatively modest, oil discoveries offshore in the North Caspian combined with onshore fields currently under development make it a potentially major oil exporter over the medium term. Improved infrastructure, including diverse and secure oil and gas transportation routes remains a prerequisite for the development of these fields. Leading sectors for U.S. exports include: oil & gas equipment and subcontracting services and support equipment, electric energy equipment, mining equipment, construction, engineering, architecture services, products and equipment; agricultural and food processing equipment; food products and fertilizers; telecommunications (including communication systems for oil fields; services (including financial & consulting services); medical products and supplies. Kazakhstan also has an advanced franchising law, key to the service sector development, which is more in line with Western standards.

Moldova (4.4 million people) After a 4.4 percent fall in 1999, GDP increased in 2000 to 1.9 percent, or ML 16 billion (over USD 1.2 billion). Furthermore, the Moldovan government is optimistic and expects a five-percent GDP growth in 2001. The economy has so far been going uphill, with industrial output, retail, construction, services and most notably transportation showing signs of an increase in the first quarter of 2001. Moreover, experts forecast that in 2001 the grain crops will be almost double the level of 2000. The cumulative inflation rate has dropped from 43.8% in 1999 during the Regional Financial Crisis to 3.8% cumulative January-May 2001. Moreover, Moldova made expeditious strides to join the WTO in 2000. The current Communist Government has remained moderate encouraging foreign investment, yet economic reform has been stagnant in the area of privatization and legislation. The American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova is a useful resource for U.S. companies entering the market. Leading sectors for U.S. exports include: In 2000, trade between the United States and Moldova more than doubled, reaching USD 64.6 million. This growth was due to a three-fold increase in U.S. exports to USD 48.6 million. Leading U.S. exports to Moldova were products from the following product categories: chemical products; optical devices and medical instruments; food products; meats and fats; electrical machinery; textiles; books and newspapers. These accounted for 90 percent of all U.S. exports to Moldova. The most notable increase in exports in 2000 over 1999 was recorded in the categories optical devices, medical instruments and chemical products. This increase is accounted for by an increase in humanitarian donations of medical supplies and equipment from the United States in 2000.

Azerbaijan (7.77 million people) Azerbaijan's macroeconomic picture has improved in the past year as a result of responsible fiscal and monetary management and favorable global economic trends. GDP grew by 8.5% in 2001, and is expected to grow by 9% in 2002. There is the planned 2003 construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and sanctioning of Phase Three of the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field development and the Shah Deniz gas field and pipeline. Industry experts suggest that Caspian reserves as a whole may approach those of the North Sea, with virtually every major international oil company staking its interest in Azerbaijan. To develop this potential, the Azeri government has put in place over twenty Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) with international oil consortia. These PSAs have provided a solid foundation for foreign investment in oil and gas-related sectors of the economy, and mean big business for U.S. suppliers. Over $10 billion in energy-related business opportunities are expected during the next 6-36 months in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus. Leading sectors for U.S. exports include: oil/gas field machinery and services; architectural, and construction, engineering services; building materials; telecommunications equipment and services; food processing/packaging equipment; and agricultural machinery. A number of “supermarkets” have appeared on the scene introducing local consumers to Western-style retailing.