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Harmon To Be Keynote Speaker at World Trade Center Exporter Awards Dinner


Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Constance M.S. Bond (202) 565-3200

Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) Chairman James A. Harmon will deliver a keynote address at the Western Pennsylvania Exporter of the Year Awards Dinner May 18 at the Pittsburgh Hilton and Towers. The awards dinner, part of the 2nd Annual Western Pennsylvania International Trade Fair, is sponsored by the Global Trade Institute of the World Trade Center Pittsburgh and the US Department of Commerce's Export Assistance Center. During a one-day visit to Pittsburgh, Harmon will urge southwestern Pennsylvania companies to expand their businesses by using Ex-Im Bank financing to sell more of their products and services in emerging markets.

Ex-Im Bank's goal is to raise awareness among southwestern Pennsylvania companies about our financing programs that can help them compete in the global economy while creating jobs at home, Harmon said. We are particularly eager to support the export capabilities of women- and minority-owned businesses and companies in underserved markets such as rural areas and inner cities.

During his visit Harmon and Ex-Im Bank Board member Dan Renberg will attend a breakfast meeting with local business leaders, a Bankers Roundtable luncheon sponsored by Mellon Bank, N.A. and a meeting with local Chambers of Commerce. In Monroeville, PA, Harmon and Renberg will participate in an Export Roundtable Discussion sponsored by the office of Senator Arlen Specter in conjunction with the Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce to discuss Ex-Im Bank financing opportunities. Harmon also will meet with exporters such as Paul C. Rizzo Associates (P. Rizzo), Monroeville, PA, an engineering consulting small business which has successfully sold its services in foreign markets backed by Ex-Im Bank financing.

P. Rizzo benefitted from an Ex-Im Bank long-term loan guarantee to export $1.5 million of design and engineering services for the creation of solid waste landfills in 50 cities as part of Mexico's100 Cities Program. The company, which focuses on energy and environmental projects, added five additional jobs to its staff of 50 as a direct result of the project and currently has a 100-person workforce.

We couldn't have done the project without Ex-Im Bank because our company was not big enough to get financing from banks without an Ex-Im Bank guarantee, said Paul C. Rizzo, president and founder of P. Rizzo. With Ex-Im Bank support, we can look forward to future projects in Peru, Romania and Chile that otherwise might not be possible.

In the past five years, Ex-Im Bank helped 267 companies in 123 communities in Pennsylvania, including 50 companies in Pittsburgh alone, to export $2.5 billion in goods and services. The exports sustained an estimated 36,307 US jobs.

For example, Union Switch & Signal Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, which employs 600 people in Pittsburgh, was able to create numerous additional jobs after winning a highly competitive multi-year contract from the Chinese government in 1996 with financing from Ex-Im Bank. The project was for an Automatic Train Control (ATC) system for the Shanghai Line 2 subway project, backed by $22 million in long-term low-interest financing from Ex-Im Bank. The project continues through expansion of the existing line with the signaling portion to be completed during the spring of 2002. The success of this project could lead follow-on business for Union Switch & Signal in this market.

Ex-Im Bank provides financing services to small and medium-sized companies through a variety of partners, including two members of the Ex-Im Bank City-State Program: the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), Harrisburg, PA; and the City of Philadelphia/Department of Commerce. As City-State Partners, these two organizations bring Ex-Im Bank services directly to local exporters. A number of Pittsburgh-based Ex-Im Bank Delegated Authority Lenders can cut through red tape and speedily approve Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed working capital loans: Mellon Bank, N.A., PNC Bank, N.A., and First International Bank Pittsburgh branch.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to developing markets around the world, through export credit insurance, direct loans, and working capital and other loan guarantees. In fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank supported nearly $17 billion in U.S. exports.