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Andrew Yarrow, (202) 565-3200

KAMPALA, UGANDA: J. Joseph Grandmaison, a board member of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), described the benefits of Ex-Im Bank's export financing at a conference on franchising as a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development tool in Kampala today. Business people from throughout East Africa attended the event, which was organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Ex-Im Bank's financial products can be very helpful for U.S. franchises overseas creating unique business opportunities for local entrepreneurs, Grandmaison said.

Ex-Im Bank's short- and medium-term support can be used for retail and commercial merchandising franchises where the fee supports ongoing purchases of U.S. goods and services. Capital equipment is eligible for medium-term support if it meets U.S. content standards, and stocking and re-stocking of products are eligible for short-term financing. However, if the franchise fee represents an equity investment, it is ineligible for Ex-Im Bank support.

Franchising -- a marketing method in which a product or service owner offers the right to operate and manage their product or service to others in return for initial and ongoing royalty payments -- is a rapidly growing way for SMEs to expand. Franchising stimulates SME and job growth, helps SMEs compete with large chains, provides reliable goods and services at competitive prices, and enables U.S. companies to expand the global reach of their trademark and receive ongoing royalty income, Grandmaison said.

After leaving Uganda, Grandmaison is also scheduled to meet with business, banking, and government leaders in Kenya and Tanzania, and other Ex-Im Bank staff will meet with business and banking leaders in Nigeria.

Ex-Im Bank was established in 1934, and today helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export credit insurance, and direct loans. In fiscal year 2003, Ex-Im Bank, an independent federal agency, authorized financing to support $14.3 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. More information on Ex-Im Bank may be found on the Web at //www.exim.gov/.