FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 7, 2011
Phil Cogan or Linda Formella, 202-565-3200
PANAMA CITY, PANAMA - Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), conducted a business-development mission in Panama on August 7 - 8, 2011, to promote Ex-Im Bank financing available to support sales of U.S. goods and services to private and public-sector buyers.
Panama is the fastest-growing country in Central America, with a GDP growth rate of 7.5 percent in 2010 and strong growth anticipated through 2015. The government of Panama has set ambitious goals for the country's infrastructure investment that could total more than $10 billion in the next five years, including a $1.5 billion metro line.
As of June 30, 2011, Ex-Im Bank has over $1 billion in exposure in Panama. Ex-Im's support for Boeing aircraft sales to Copa Airlines, Panama's flag carrier, constitutes the majority of its financings in the country in recent years, and the Bank is seeking to expand its support beyond the aviation sector.
Hochberg met with Panamanian business leaders to discuss Ex-Im Bank financing available to encourage more companies in Panama to purchase U.S. goods and services. He is focused on expanding use of the Bank's products for infrastructure development, renewable-energy production, medical and transportation equipment, construction and other sectors.
From financing U.S. construction equipment for the Pan-American Highway in the 1940s to supporting U.S. aircraft sales to Copa Airlines today, Ex-Im Bank has helped to expand business and tourism in Panama, said Chairman Hochberg. The Bank is open for business in all of our programs in Panama. We provide an array of innovative financing tools and resources for Panamanian buyers to purchase U.S. goods and services.
Commenting on the pending U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement, Hochberg noted, Ex-Im Bank supports Panamanian companies as productive partners with U.S. exporters for the mutual benefit of our countries. The free trade agreement with Panama will allow the Bank to harness additional opportunities in infrastructure and other key sectors and improve U.S. access to Panama's $20 billion services market.
Hochberg's schedule included meetings with Copa Airlines officials, breakfast at the American Chamber of Commerce of Panama on Monday, August 8, followed by a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Panama Phyllis M. Powers and a visit to the Panama Canal.
Panamanian buyers interested in learning more about Ex-Im Bank's financing may contact Senior Commercial Officer Daniel Crocker at the U.S. Embassy in Panama City through email at Daniel.Crocker@trade.gov or by calling (507) 207-7388.
About Ex-Im Bank:
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers.The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
In FY 2011 through August 4, 2011, Ex-Im Bank has approved more than $24.5 billion in total authorizations - an all-time Ex-Im record. This total included 2,548 U.S. small-business transactions. The Bank's FY 2011 authorizations to date represent a 70 percent increase over its FY 2008 total of $14.4 billion.
Ex-Im Bank's authorizations through August 4 will support $31.5 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 213,000 American jobs in communities across the country. For more information, visit the Bank's Web site at www.exim.gov