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James A. Harmon Plans Stops in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia


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Washington, D.C.: Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) Chairman James A. Harmon makes his first official visit to Brazil from October 19-23, 1998. During his visit, Mr. Harmon will meet with senior representatives of the Brazilian government in Brasilia, and with banking and business leaders in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Harmon's visit to Brazil has the endorsement of President Clinton, who has called upon the Ex-Im Bank to intensify its support for trade in goods and services between the United States and Brazil.

Ex-Im Bank has an important role to play in sustaining trade flows between the United States and Latin America, particularly during this time of global economic uncertainty, said Mr. Harmon. My purpose in traveling to Brazil now is to learn as much as possible about what Ex-Im Bank can do to keep American goods and services flowing to this vast and important region of the world, which represents approximately 40% of Latin America's gross domestic product.

Ex-Im Bank has been active in Brazil since the 1930s and currently has a transaction value outstanding in Brazil of $3.8 billion, comprising a broad range of short-, medium-, and long-term transactions. Ex-Im Bank has been particularly active in arranging trade finance for small- and medium-sized Brazilian companies, approving more than 60 transactions in fiscal year 1998 in which middle-market companies were both buyers and borrowers. Many of these transactions were for amounts less than $1 million. Ex-Im Bank has also been quite active in Brazil's aviation, energy, transportation, publishing, and telecommunication sectors. In the coming year, the Bank expects to participate in a number of infrastructure development projects in several industrial sectors. The Bank currently makes available all of its programs, including Loans and Guarantees, Insurance, and Working Capital Guarantees, to support exports of U.S. goods and services to Brazil's private sector.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to industrializing and developing markets all over the world by providing loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance. In fiscal year 1998, Ex-Im Bank supported $12.8 billion of U.S. exports.