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Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) will accept the credit of qualified cities, states and other subsovereign governments in emerging markets for the purchase of U.S. equipment and services to address vital infrastructure needs. The new initiative will immediately make doing business with U.S. companies easier for qualifying subsovereign entities in Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Malaysia, Poland, Slovakia, and South Korea.

In particular, the program will help foreign borrowers with municipal, state and provincial support gain access to Ex-Im Bank financing to buy, among other things, medical equipment, construction vehicles, information technology, and environmentally beneficial goods and services. Ex-Im Bank will consider accepting the credit of subsovereign governments whose foreign currency debts are not in default and are rated B/B2 or stronger by an accepted global credit rating agency. Further, Ex-Im Bank will consider accepting the credit of subsovereign entities with equivalent ratings from local rating agencies that are branches or affiliates of the global agencies.

This initiative will sustain U.S. jobs and help many emerging market cities and states strengthen their economies by addressing critical infrastructure needs, including expanding their access to cutting-edge information technology, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon.

This program is one of many U.S. government initiatives announced in conjunction with the establishment by President Clinton and other heads of state at the recent G-8 Summit of a Digital Opportunity Task Force to help developing countries participate in the information revolution. Less than 5% of computers currently connected to the Internet are in developing countries.

Municipalities and other subsovereign goverments whose foreign currency debts are currently rated B/B2 or stronger are: Argentina: City of Buenos Aires, Province of Buenos Aires, City of Cordoba, Province of Mendoza, Tierra del Fuego, Province of Tucuman, and Province of Santiago Estero; Brazil: State of Bahia, State of Ceara, and City of Rio de Janeiro; Bulgaria: City of Sofia; China: Fujian ITIC, Shandong ITIC, Shenzen ITIC and Tianjin ITIC; Colombia: City of Bogota; Croatia: City of Zagreb; Czech Republic: City of Olomuc, City of Ostrova, and City of Prague; Estonia: City of Tallinn; South Korea: City of Pusan, City of Seoul, and City of Taegu; Latvia: City of Riga; Malaysia: City of Johor; Poland: City of Lodz, City of Krakow, City of Szczecin, and City of Wroclaw; Slovakia: Bratislava.

The list of municipalities and other subsovereign entities eligible for the program will change as credit ratings change. Ex-Im Bank is exploring ways to expand the program in the near future to reach more subsovereign governments in a greater number of countries.

All proposed export transactions under the program will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by appropriate Ex-Im Bank staff. The global credit rating agencies whose ratings may be used for qualification are: Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Duff & Phelps, Fitch/IBCA, and Japan Credit Rating.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loans, guarantees, and insurance. During fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank supported nearly $17 billion in US exports.