Funding Ended for U.S. Trade Group

The United States has closed down a long-running arm of its international trade program that focused on Russia and the former Soviet Union, after funding dried up.

BISNIS -- which stands for the Business Information Service for the Newly Independent States -- was set up in 1992 to promote U.S. commercial interests in the region by bringing together potential business partners. Over its existence, BISNIS has led to $4.5 billion in deals.

"We now pass the baton to our colleagues in the commercial service," said Philip de Leon, director of the agency.

An embassy spokesperson noted that "the program's phase-out across the former Soviet Union was planned." He added that the commercial service, which has offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok, would continue to "work actively."