The US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which promotes American investment abroad, has won a reprieve from Congress, which earlier threatened to prevent it from doing any new business.

Congress voted on 28 September to reauthorise OPIC for one more year, after deciding on 11 September not to approve a five-year renewal. OPIC will now be able to fund new projects at the same level as in the last year.

The change of heart followed extensive lobbying by US businesses. Congress is dominated by Republicans, many of whom are opposed to what they see as export subsidies for US business by organisations like OPIC and the Export-Import Bank (Eximbank).

OPIC is a private organisation set up by Congress which finances itself through the fees it charges. It has been involved in part-financing or guaranteeing a range of projects in the Middle East. Most recently it helped to set up a private equity fund which aims to put a total of $250 million into the region (MEED 20:9:96).