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EX-IM BANK ENTERS MOU WITH CITY OF ZAGREB, CROATIA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 19, 2000

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Nancy Publicover at (202) 565-3200 or nancy.publicover@exim.gov

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and the City of Zagreb, Croatia today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) declaring their intent to cooperate in financing infrastructure or other projects using U.S. goods and services. Ex-Im Bank board member D. Vanessa Weaver and Zagreb deputy mayor Mladen Vilfan signed the agreement at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

By signaling Ex-Im Bank's increasing confidence in Croatia and our commitment to expanding support for creditworthy transactions in this market, we hope that this agreement will further encourage trade between our countries, said Weaver. We are particularly interested in promoting exports in such sectors as tourism, rail and port infrastructure, agribusiness, environmentally-related projects, energy, power, health-care, and education, which are vitally important to Croatia's economic success.

Ex-Im Bank financing is available for creditworthy short-, medium-, and long-term public and private sector transactions in Croatia. Under the MOU, Ex-Im Bank and the City of Zagreb will work together to identify transactions in Zagreb, as well as elsewhere in Croatia, which may be considered for support on a risk-sharing basis. On a case by case basis, the parties agree to consider the willingness on the part of the city to act as borrower or guarantor, or provide other services, to facilitate the purchase of U.S. goods and services by a third-party Croatian buyer.

U.S. exports to Zagreb may be eligible for financing under Ex-Im Bank's subsovereign guarantee program, which is open to qualifying entities whose foreign currency debts are not in default and are rated B/B2 or stronger by an accepted global credit ratings agency. The list of eligible entities will change as credit ratings change. Ex-Im Bank is exploring ways to expand the program in the near future to reach more subsovereign governments in a greater number of countries.

The MOU follows on Weaver's September visit to Croatia, where she met with business, financial and government leaders to promote Ex-Im Bank support for exports to the region. In June of this year, Ex-Im Bank chairman James A. Harmon announced a Southeast Europe Initiative to strengthen U.S. commercial ties and seek export opportunities in Romania, Albania, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia and F.Y.R. Macedonia.

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, working capital loan guarantees, loan guarantees, and direct loans. During fiscal year 2000, Ex-Im Bank supported $15.5 billion in U.S. exports.