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EX-IM BANK AND SBA LAUNCH INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE SMALL BUSINESS EXPORTS, INCREASE USE OF WORKING CAPITAL PRODUCTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 9, 2002

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Linda Formella (202) 565-3200

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have signed a memorandum of cooperation to increase coordination to promote exports by the U.S. small business community. The initiative is also intended to increase awareness and use of the financing products offered by Ex-Im Bank and the SBA that facilitate export-related working capital loans to small businesses.

Ex-Im Bank and the SBA have agreed that their representatives will meet regularly to strengthen institutional ties and identify ways to improve delivery of trade assistance programs. The two agencies will work together to develop a joint marketing campaign for their respective working capital programs, including publications, a program guide, and lender and small business training.

This initiative is a proactive effort to make it easier for U.S. small businesses to access the export financing products of Ex-Im Bank and the SBA. We hope that by improving and expanding our joint marketing efforts, we will enable more small companies, especially those owned by women and minorities, to take advantage of the resources available from our agencies to help them succeed in foreign markets, Ex-Im Bank Vice Chairman Eduardo Aguirre said.

Small businesses are important players in international trade, SBA Administrator Hector V. Barreto said. They represent 96 percent of all exporters of goods and services. The SBA and Ex-Im Bank offer a combination of programs that can help small businesses take advantage of the opportunities available through international trade. By leveraging the resources of our two agencies, we can improve the competitive edge of small businesses in foreign markets.

Ex-Im Bank and the SBA both offer guarantees of working capital loans to cover export-related costs such as purchase of inventory, production costs, cost of standby letters of credit, and financing of foreign receivables. The agencies share the same application form for their respective programs.

Information and assistance on using Ex-Im Bank and SBA products, particularly working capital guarantees, is available through Ex-Im Bank and SBA regional offices, the Export Assistance Centers operated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and regional and community banks and other lenders that are delegated authority lenders.

The SBA provides financial, technical and management assistance to help Americans start, run and grow their businesses. With a portfolio of business loans, loan guarantees and disaster loans worth more than $50 billion, the SBA is the nation's largest single financial backer of small businesses. For more information about all of the SBA's programs for small businesses, call the SBA Answer Desk at 1-800-U-ASK-SBA or TDD 704-344-6640. Also visit the SBA's Web site at www.sba.gov.

Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank provides loans, guarantees and export credit insurance to support U.S. exports, particularly to developing markets around the world. In fiscal year 2001, Ex-Im Bank authorized financing to support $12.5 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. More than $1.6 billion of this financing supported U.S. small business exports.