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EX-IM BANK SIGNS CREDIT GUARANTEE FACILITY WITH KEY RUSSIAN BANK

$50 Million Facility With VneshtorgBank For U.S. Equipment and Services Exports

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 17, 2003

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Andrew Yarrow, (202) 565-3200

MOSCOW, RUSSIA -- The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) today signed a credit guarantee facility with VneshtorgBank (VTB) in Moscow that can support Russian purchases of up to $50 million of exported U.S. capital goods and services. HSBC Bank PLC is the guaranteed lender.

Because VneshtorgBank has been one of Russia's fastest growing banks in recent years, we are especially pleased to be able to provide this loan guarantee, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman Philip Merrill, who signed the agreement with VTB's chairman, Andrei Kostin. Russia is a strategic market for U.S. exporters, and this facility demonstrates how Ex-Im Bank can adopt innovative approaches to help U.S. businesses win export sales and help Russian buyers obtain needed goods and services.

Merrill is in Russia to meet with business and government leaders in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Ex-Im Bank has been particularly active in supporting U.S. exports to Russia during the last decade, and has approximately $1.5 billion in exposure in the country.

We are delighted that the perseverance and flexibility of Ex-Im Bank has enabled VTB and HSBC to conclude this facility, said Richard Cole, CEO of HSBC's global Project and Export Finance group. The facility itself will be of great benefit to U.S. exporters and their Russian clients by providing swift access to term financing in support of the growing trading relationship between the U.S and Russia.

VneshtorgBank was founded in 1990 to service Russia's trading operations. It now has 33 branches in Russia and stakes in five former Soviet trade banks in Western Europe. VTB had been owned by Russia's Central Bank until last year, when it transferred its ownership to the State Property Commission.

Ex-Im Bank, the official export credit agency of the United States, helps to finance the sales of U.S. exports, primarily to developing markets, thereby sustaining U.S. jobs, by providing guarantees, export credit insurance and loans. In fiscal year 2003, Ex-Im Bank authorized financing to support more than $14 billion of U.S. exports.