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Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) recently approved an $18 million medium-term loan guarantee to support the $21.7 million export of equipment and services by General Electric Co., Salem, VA, and various U.S. suppliers to modernize a hot strip steel mill in China. CIC Co., Glenshaw, PA, and Carlen Controls Inc., Roanoke, VA, are suppliers on the transaction. The Benxi Iron & Steel Co., Benxi, Liaoning, China, will use the computer software, control systems and main drive power supplies to modernize and improve production at the Benxi 1700mm Hot Strip Mill.

GE said the transaction directly supports 300 union jobs at its 1,600-employee Salem, VA plant, and represents 10% of the Salem plant's production.

Ex-Im Bank found the transaction worthy of support after conducting a credit analysis, analyzing its economic impact on the U.S. economy, and determining that it complies with Ex-Im Bank's environmental guidelines and standards.

Our analysis concluded that the transaction would have a net positive impact on the U.S. economy, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon. In the future the Bank may want to take a look at its policy regarding economic impact analysis and its effect on the U.S. economy.

Had the Board declined to approve the financing for this transaction, the buyer stated that it would procure the equipment from French and German companies, thus permitting the same plant modernization, but with no benefit to U.S. exporters' jobs and profits.

The borrower and primary source of repayment for the financing is the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, which is backed by the full faith and credit of the Chinese government. The guaranteed lender is Deutsche Bank North America, New York, NY.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loans, guarantees, and insurance. Ex-Im Bank supported $15.5 billion in U.S. exports in fiscal year 2000.