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Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) Chairman Philip Merrill today strongly supported a draft recommendation by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on common approaches for evaluating environmental impacts of projects financed by export credit agencies (ECAs).

Following years of negotiations, the U.S. government and its counterpart members of the OECD made final revisions to the draft agreement on Nov. 6. The governments of all of the OECD member states must confirm their acceptance of the agreement by Nov. 21. The document will come before the OECD Council of Ministers for formal adoption within the next two months.

We are pleased with the draft recommendation, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman Philip Merrill. On two of the most important issues - standards and transparency - major progress was made. The U.S. government has accepted the document, and we hope our fellow OECD colleagues will accept it as well.

The adoption of the agreement would mark a milestone in ECA cooperation to ensure that foreign infrastructure projects supported by ECAs meet established environmental standards.

Ex-Im Bank was first among ECAs when, in 1995, it adopted environmental guidelines for foreign projects that it finances. Ex-Im Bank sees this agreement as an important step in leveling the playing field for U.S. exporters while improving the environmental review of ECA-supported projects.

In addition to making the ECA environmental review process more transparent and identifying minimum international standards, the agreement strengthens internal reporting requirements among ECAs on environmental matters.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal government agency that 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 authorized financing to support approximately $14.2 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.