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Andrew Yarrow (202) 565-3200

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) announced the approval of a $10.2 million medium-term bank-to-bank insurance policy that allows a Costa Rican bank to lend money to Costa Rican builders and developers to buy $11.75 million of capital goods and services from U.S. exporters.

Under this repetitive sales policy, Allfirst Bank of Baltimore, Md., will extend credit to Banco de Costa Rica of San Jose, Costa Rica. Transactions already approved under this policy will support the sales of materials and equipment to build houses and townhouses in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and for equipment to help refurbish the Grant Hotel de Costa Rica in San Jose.

With Ex-Im Bank financing, Costa Rican companies will find U.S. capital goods such as machinery, services, and technologies more affordable, creating a win-win situation for both our economies, said Ex-Im Bank Director Dan Renberg, who recently met with government and business leaders in Costa Rica. The transaction approved by Ex-Im Bank, which will stimulate economic growth in Costa Rica and the United States, reflects the strong trade ties envisioned by President Bush in his efforts to develop a Central American Free Trade Agreement and ultimately the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.

Ex-Im Bank has long provided financing for Costa Rican companies interested in purchasing U.S. goods and services on favorable repayment terms, including Corporacio Pipasa in San Jose and Constructura Hernan Solis in Heredia. Ex-Im Bank has approximately $20 million in exposure in Costa Rica, and authorized $7.8 million in financing for U.S. exports to the country in fiscal year 2001.

Thanks to Ex-Im Bank's bank-to-bank insurance program, we are able to assist U.S. exporters gaining access to Costa Rican markets, said David Cooke, head of the trade finance unit at Allfirst Bank. This would not have been possible without the ability to work with the Banco de Costa Rica under the auspices of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets, by providing loans, guarantees and export credit insurance. In fiscal year 2001, Ex-Im Bank supported $12.5 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.