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EX-IM BANK FINANCING HELPS PUERTO RICO EXPORTERS REACH NEW MARKETS, EXPAND GLOBAL SALES

Ex-Im Bank Vice Chair Jackie Clegg to visit San Juan, June 26-27

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 25, 2000

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Exporters in Puerto Rico can be more competitive, reach new markets, and increase their international sales with the help of export financing from the Export Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). Ex-Im Bank is a U.S. government agency offering export credit insurance, working capital loan guarantees, loan guarantees, and direct loans to finance the export of U.S. goods and services to developing markets.

Exports have never been more important to our economy, said Ex-Im Bank Vice Chair and Chief Operating Officer Jackie M. Clegg. Exports support one out of every five manufacturing jobs in the United States. On average, these jobs pay 15 percent more than jobs that are not related to exports. And companies that start out with export strategies are more competitive and grow faster.

At 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 27, Clegg will be a featured speaker at Nuevo Horizontes para la Empresa de Puerto Rico, a luncheon conference for the business community at the El Convento Hotel in Old San Juan. Members of the press are invited to attend (contact Nancy Publicover, Ex-Im Bank, at (202) 565-3200 for more information). The luncheon is being held in conjunction with a two-day Ex-Im Bank training seminar for lenders, insurers and exporters.

Ex-Im Bank's products remove the financial risks of exporting and helps exporters successfully compete in foreign markets. With Ex-Im Bank's backing, exporters can secure affordable financing from private sector lenders and offer their overseas buyers payment terms comparable to their foreign competitors' offers.

Best Locking Systems, a woman-owned small business in San Juan, uses Ex-Im Bank's small business export credit insurance policy to sell Master key locking systems to customers in the Caribbean and South America. Company owner Arlene Gronowetter says that in just six months as an Ex-Im Bank customer she has been able to increase her credit sales and expects to continue growing her business through additional exports.

B&B Manufacturing of Santurce, an Ex-Im Bank customer for two years, relies on Ex-Im Bank's small business export credit insurance to offer his foreign buyers competitive payment terms. Owner Orlando Burguera says the manufacturer of spark plug cable sets for the automotive and industrial equipment markets has successfully overcome downturns in domestic sales and addednew employees as a result of the increased overseas business.

Best Car Mats, a manufacturer of customized car mats, had been requiring cash in advance on its export sales before learning of Ex-Im Bank through the Puerto Rico Small Business Development Center. Company owner Jose Rodriguez says that after just six months using Ex-im Bank's small business export credit insurances, he has been able to increase sales and enter new markets by offering more affordable payment terms to his customers.

Flexitank, a rural small business in Toabaja, uses Ex-im Bank's short-term multi-buyer insurance to finance receivable from customers in Latin America and the Caribbean, freeing cash flow and enabling the company to enjoy rapid growth.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that provides export credit insurance, working capital guarantees, loans and loan guarantees to help finance exports of U.S. goods and services around the world, particularly to developing markets. In fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank supported nearly $17 billion of U.S. exports worldwide and more than $98 million in exports to the Caribbean and Central America, some of Puerto Rico's primary export markets.