FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 17, 2012
Linda Formella (202-565-3200)
WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and Bancóldex have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to facilitate trade between the United States and Colombia.
Ex-Im Bank and Bancóldex have agreed to exchange information on trade and business prospects that may present opportunities for cooperation, including expanding use of Ex-Im Bank financing by Colombian buyers for their purchases of U.S. goods and services.
Bancóldex is Colombia's government-owned development and foreign trade bank. It functions as a secondary lender and focuses on entrepreneurship and foreign trade.
The MOU is a statement of general intent between Ex-Im Bank and Bancóldex to promote the availability of Ex-Im Bank financing to Colombian companies, particularly small and mid-sized businesses. Ex-Im Bank and Bancóldex will work together to share information and develop export-financing opportunities in key sectors, including infrastructure, environmental projects, medical equipment and transportation.
Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg and Bancóldex CEO Santiago Rojas signed the agreement today at Ex-Im Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Colombia's deputy chief of mission to the United States, Nicholas Lloreda, attended the signing ceremony. Also attending was Bancóldex Risk Vice President Mauro Sartori.
“Colombia is one of the fastest-growing markets for U.S. goods and services in Ex-Im Bank's portfolio, and it was our single-largest country market last fiscal year. We join Bancóldex in celebrating the entry into force of the historic U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement on May 15. Ex-Im Bank's agreement with Bancóldex will further encourage opportunities for both countries. It will also strengthen our ability to reach more Colombian buyers and assist more U.S. exporters in tapping the potential of this emerging market,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg.
Bancóldex CEO Santiago Rojas noted, “The free trade agreement will be an opportunity for both countries to increase their bilateral trade, which will have a positive effect on the competitiveness of each country as well as on the ability to generate employment in some sectors. The cooperation between Ex-Im Bank and Bancóldex will support the opportunities that the free trade agreement could bring to entrepreneurs.”
Colombia's National Investment Plan for 2011-2014 calls for an investment of over $300 billion in infrastructure projects, a key focus area for Ex-Im Bank financing.
Chairman Hochberg conducted a business-development mission in Bogotá in August 2011, where he met with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and other government and business leaders. In December 2011, Ex-Im Bank hosted an event in Washington, D.C., “Infrastructure Opportunities in Colombia for U.S. Companies,” which was attended by representatives of more than 100 U.S. companies interested in doing business in Colombia.
Colombia is one of nine key markets (others are Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, India, Indonesia and Vietnam) where Ex-Im Bank is focusing its business-development efforts. The Bank authorized more than $3.7 billion in support of U.S. exports to Colombia in FY 2011.
About Ex-Im Bank: Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years, Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers $1.9 billion above the cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
Ex-Im Bank approved $32.7 billion in total authorizations in FY 2011 -- an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6 billion directly supporting small-business export sales -- also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank's total authorizations are supporting an estimated $41 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 290,000 American jobs in communities across the country. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.