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EX-IM BANK ENHANCES SUPPORT FOR MEDICAL EQUIPMENT EXPORTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 1, 2002

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Bo Ollison (202) 565-3200

The Export Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) announced today it will take several steps to enhance its support for U.S. exports of medical equipment and services to emerging markets.

Ex-Im Bank will automatically provide financing of a foreign buyer's local costs for up to 15 percent of the contract price when supporting a U.S. medical industry export sale. This will be a standard feature of Ex-Im Bank coverage for the medical sector, rather than being provided on a case-by-case basis as for other industry sectors.

Ex-Im Bank also will provide the maximum repayment terms -- up to seven years -- allowable for medium-term financing under OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) guidelines on these transactions. In addition, the Bank will offer capitalization of interest during the construction period for hospital construction or expansion, and will continue to adopt a particularly flexible attitude when considering individual transactions in this sector.

Our initiative is a response to the unique needs of this industry sector, said Ex-Im Bank Vice Chairman Eduardo Aguirre, Jr. The foreign buyers of these products and services tend to be small and their finances and credit weaker than average. Local cost financing for containment buildings, import duties and taxes is a critical element of the sales. And the likelihood of U.S. small business participation in these export transactions is above average. This is important, because a top Ex-Im Bank priority is to expand support for U.S. small business exports.

The enhancements will be offered both on Ex-Im Bank medium term insurance and on its loan guarantee products. Ex-Im Bank will maintain the initiative as a pilot program for two years and then assess its impact.

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. In fiscal year 2001, Ex-Im Bank supported $12.5 billion of U.S. exports worldwide, and over $168 million in medical equipment exports. Overall since 1999, Ex-Im Bank has financed $341.9 million in U.S. medical equipment exports.