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

Chennai, India: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) wants to help build a strategic partnership between Indian and US high technology businesses to boost productivity and wealth creation in both countries, Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon told students and professors at the Indian Institute of Technology Wednesday.

As India continues to advance in the high technology markets, I believe that the United States can and should be right there beside it, Harmon said on the fifth day of a one-week trade development mission to India, including stops in New Delhi and Mumbai. Harmon is meeting with Indian government, business and banking representatives to explore ways to increase Ex-Im Bank financing to government and private sector buyers of US goods and services.

US companies already are accessing the talent of India and Indian companies, while Indian companies are producing high technology products that meet the rapidly changing needs of US industry, Harmon noted, adding: I am convinced that the developing global economy provides a compelling impetus for India and the United States to become strategic business allies and natural markets for each other's technology age products.

Technology has enabled India to leapfrog some of the traditional developmental stages to join the information age immediately, Harmon said, pointing to India's software industry which has grown at annual rates of 50% over the past four years from $1.3 billion to $5.6 billion. He predicted India will be one of the top five global targets for technology investment by 2008.

I have come to India to learn how we can create new partnerships to best serve the needs of Indian business and advance our mutual interests, Harmon told the students. Ex-Im Bank is open under all of its loan, guarantee and insurance programs in both the public and private sectors in India. Since 1990, Ex-Im Bank business in India has increased twelve-fold to $1.8 billion in outstanding loans and guarantees to India.

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