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BUCHAREST CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS EX IM BANK FINANCING FOR SOUTHEAST AND CENTRAL EUROPEAN INFRASTRUCTURE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 15, 2004

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Andrew Yarrow, (202) 565-3200

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Over 100 key government and private sector representatives attended the Southeast and Central Europe Infrastructure Conference in Bucharest, Romania on Nov. 16-17, 2004.

Bucharest, Romania - More than 100 business, banking, and local and national government leaders from nine Southeast and Central European countries are discussing ways to advance infrastructure financing with U.S. and Western European government and banking officials here during a two-day Infrastructure Finance Conference organized by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank).

The conference is focused on financing for transportation, telecommunications, water, wastewater-treatment, health-care, energy, and other types of infrastructure projects in countries from Poland to Serbia and from Romania to Turkey. Ex-Im Bank officials are emphasizing efforts to develop municipal and other local projects, as well as public-private partnerships.

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The Romanian Minister of Public Finances, the Honorable Mihai Tanasescu, delivered a keynote address on the first day of the Bucharest conference.

Financing significant infrastructure projects and expanding U.S. trade with Southeast and Central Europe are both key objectives of the Export-Import Bank, Ex-Im Bank Chairman Philip Merrill said. Infrastructure is vital to economic development and to the well-being of any nation and community.

Ex-Im Bank, which has helped finance nearly $2 billion in U.S. exports to the region during the last half-dozen years, has a long track record in infrastructure financing and features an initiative to provide financing for municipal and regional projects without national-government, or sovereign, guarantees. Ex-Im Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is also participating in the conference, are unique in providing financing to local governments.

While multilateral development banks provide financing for infrastructure projects in poorer countries, equity, bond, and commercial-lender financing is often unavailable particularly for national, city, and state governments in areas such as Southeast and Central Europe, Ex-Im Bank Senior Vice President and Head of Export Finance Jeffrey Miller said in remarks prepared for delivery today. That's where export credit agencies such as Ex-Im Bank play such a critical role.

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U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Romania, Dr. Jack Dyer Croch II, highlighted the Export-Import Bank's critical role in helping buyers in Central and Southeast Europe acquire high-quality U.S. goods and services.

U.S. Ambassador to Romania J.D. Crouch II is expected to affirm the importance of U.S. economic and security relations with the region in today's luncheon keynote address.

This year, Ex-Im Bank marks its 71st year of helping finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export credit insurance, and direct loans. In fiscal year 2003, it authorized financing to support $14.3 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. For more information on Ex-Im Bank, visit www.exim.gov.