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Nancy Publicover (202) 565-3200 In-Country Contact: Kiki Munshi, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi 91 11 331 6841

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is now willing to guarantee loans denominated in rupees, India's currency, under Ex-Im Bank's Foreign Currency Guarantee program. The rupee guarantee is going to be a powerful tool for helping Indian businesses of all sizes access U.S. goods and services, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon.

Ex-Im Bank expects to facilitate up to $500 million in U.S. exports to India under the program. Allowing U.S. exporters the flexibility to offer their buyers a guarantee in their local currency helps them be more competitive and enables them to reach more Indian buyers, Harmon said.

Harmon is visiting India on a 6-day trade mission to announce new programs that will facilitate more trade between India and the U.S.

Indian companies now have the option of arranging rupee-denominated loans guaranteed by Ex-Im Bank to finance their dollar purchases of U.S. goods and services. In the event of a claim, Ex-Im Bank would pay the guaranteed lender in the foreign currency.

Ex-Im Bank's Foreign Currency Guarantee Program provides U.S. exporters with the ability to offer their foreign buyer the choice of either a dollar-denominated loan from Ex-Im Bank or a foreign currency-denominated loan from a commercial bank. Ex-Im Bank can authorize foreign currency transactions denominated in the French franc, German mark, Japanese yen, Swiss franc, the British pound, the South African rand and now, the Indian rupee.

Ex-Im Bank is open for short-, medium- and long-term export financing in India's public and private sectors. 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 U.S. exports wordwide.