Public Papers

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Establishment of the Bulgarian-American Agriculture/Agribusiness Enterprise Fund


The President today announced his intent to establish a Bulgarian-American Agriculture/Agribusiness Enterprise Fund. Vice President Dan Quayle discussed the fund with the visiting Bulgarian economic delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Dimitur Ludzhev and Minister of Finance Ivan Kostov at their July 22 meeting. The Vice President welcomed the progress Bulgaria has made in political and economic reform under the leadership of President Zhelev and Prime Minister Popov and noted that the establishment of an enterprise fund was designed to accelerate the process of privatization.

Similar to the funds already established for Poland, Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, the new Bulgarian fund will invest in the private sector, using its own funds and drawing on other sources of venture capital as well. The Bulgarian fund, however, will differ from the others in two important ways:

-- it will focus primarily (but not exclusively) on the agriculture/agribusiness sector, including agricultural inputs, food processing and packaging, distribution, and other related areas; and

-- it will be charged from the beginning to provide technical assistance to complement its investment activities. The funding for this technical assistance will come out of the capital stock of the fund.

The administration intends to make an initial grant of million to the fund from money appropriated this fiscal year for East European assistance in the foreign affairs operations Bill.

The Bulgarian-American Agriculture/Agribusiness Enterprise Fund may make loans, grants, and equity investments in addition to sponsoring technical assistance, training, and other measures designed to foster the growth of private business in all sectors of the Bulgarian economy, with a particular emphasis on the agriculture sector.

The fund will be a private, non-profit organization. The American members of the Board of Directors will be designated by the President at a later date. The fund will maintain appropriate records of its activities and will file an annual report that includes a statement of an independent auditor.